Welcome to womens online Bible study! This week we begin the Elijah: Faith & Fire Bible Study written by Priscilla Shirer. We are excited to join women around the world for this #biblecafe online Bible study. Get a book and join us at the virtual table! Bring your coffee, Bible, and writing pens. Let’s study, connect, and grow.
While you may be tempted to “skip” the introduction week for a Bible study, here are some reasons why I enjoy showing up (and you will too).
3 Reasons Why You Should Show Up to the Introduction
First, we ask study questions and set a foundation for the course. This week we’re discussing how to remain steadfast in difficult cultures. We examine scripture and seek to understand the Biblical meaning. We are an interdenominational ministry with women from various Christian denominations. So, we have the opportunity to discover our similarities and differences.
Second, we connect through our computer screens, Zoom cameras, and smart phones. This is a wonderful way to make new friends with a common interest. Since we are Christians studying the same Bible theme, it is a perfect opportunity to connect with other women. Bible Cafe groups are not divided by age, marriage status, kids/no kids, and other interests. And so, n these online groups, we are blended together and connect with a variety of women. Some are brand new Believers, others are growing in faith, and many are lifelong students of the Bible. Everyone is welcome.
Third, we grow closer to God. As we study the Bible, we draw closer to the author and perfecter of our faith. We seek to understand, know Jesus, and transform our lives. And we do this right at the beginning in the introduction week. Come join us for the Elijah Faith and Fire Bible Study.
2 Reasons Why You Won’t Show Up
When I asked our community why they did not show up to the Introduction Week, there were two common answers.
Reason #1 We may feel fear or insecurity.
Reason #2 We think we already know it.
These are two interesting obstacles to Bible study. I can certainly relate to the first reason. Several years ago, my insecurity was high, and my faith was weak. And so, I turned around and walked out of my first Bible study. A woman from carpool saw me walking out of the church. She blocked my path with her petite body and stood 12 inches from my nose. With a piercing look into my blue eyes she said, “Christine, if you walk out now then Satan wins.” It’s been nearly 25 years since Lisa blocked my path. I have not forgotten those Spirit-filled words and I have completed 100 Bible studies since that day. Jesus wins!
The second reason for not attending the Introduction week is familiarity. Sometimes, we become overly familiar with a Bible study community. We feel there is nothing new under the sun. So we miss that first week, and gallantly show up when we get to the “meat” of the study. Personally, I have found the first meeting extremely exciting! This is when I learn the backstories of the women at my church table or online group. It is where we find common ground and purpose. This is also when the group leaders create attendance lists and start praying for you (and me).
Elijah Faith and Fire Bible Study Starts This Week
Now that you understand the three reasons and two objections to Introduction Week, I would love to see you in our groups. Grab your book, Bible, and pens. I will see you at the virtual Bible Cafe for the Elijah Faith & Fire Introduction week!
Welcome to our final week of the Gideon Bible study by Priscilla Shirer. Throughout this study we’ve learned how God is able to turn weakness into strength. By now you realize there is more to Gideon than wet fleece! Our final chapter this week unveils the obstacles Gideon faced- his own self interests and idolatry.
We had the opportunity to complete “The Interview” and then reflect on own situations from a Biblical perspective. Did you claim your own idols after the lesson on page 150? It’s easy to read the pages of scripture and judge Gideon, and as we learned this week, much harder to judge ourselves. Yet for a Bible study to be effective and have lasting impact, we need to apply scripture to our individual lives. We need to live it…not just read it!
What impacted you most during the Gideon Bible study? Which lesson or statement from Priscilla Shirer took root inside your heart? It would so so wonderful to gather together at the Table and hear your personal stories. In the meantime, we have s all group experience where you can gather and share your thoughts with each other. If you’re on Twitter or Facebook look for the hashtag #LessonsfromGideon and see what others are posting about this Bible study.
In the final chapter this week, I personally discovered how something inherently good became an idol in my life. I’ve know that I struggle with emotional eating, and food which is good has power over me when I use it to fill an emotional need. I was reminded this week that only God fills those empty spaces in my life, and the solution is to turn to Him in prayer and not food.
Chocolate is my cure-all for any mood…and something I need to limit inside my home. I use chocolate to celebrate something or to comfort a feeling I might be having. How about you? Is your idol a Facebook game, a television show, an addictive habit…what are you a bit obsessed over? For some women, even Bible study can become an idol when it becomes a badge on the wall and replaces a relationship with God. Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.
Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 2 Cor 13:5 NIV
Pause from your busy day or your heavy burdens and examine your own heart. Make sure you are in alignment with His will, in relationship with Him and detached from potential idols. This needs to be a daily habit as you center your life inside His Presence.
My prayer for you is that by finishing this Bible study, you now recognize your own strengths and weakness from a spiritual perspective. With this knowledge, you are then in a position of authority in spiritual warfare. Walk in victory…beside Jesus.
Thank you for joining us in this Bible study! It has been a pleasure to spend this time with you. Thank you to our 20 volunteers who lead the small groups and pray for you by name. God is good, always!
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What an amazing week of online Bible study at the Womens Bible Cafe™ We’ve just finished reading week five of the Gideon Bible study written by Priscilla Shirer. We saw a major turn of events as our Biblical hero goes from a God-centered life back into a self-centered life. Yes…BACK into his self interests.
Equipped by God to overcome his own insecurity, Gideon the hero becomes Gideon the disrespected in a very short time. His demise was listening to the flesh rather than listening to the Lord. Has this ever happened to you?
It’s easy to be deceived by the enemy of lies. When we stop seeking wisdom from God through prayer, Bible study and fellowship…we open the door to spiritual warfare. Today in my local Bible study our leader suggested memorizing Galatians 5:19-21 NIV so we recognize the works of the flesh inside us.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 NIV )
I wonder if Gideon would have experienced a different outcome if he knew and prayed these things! What about you? Do you recognize that when you are acting in anger, discord, or jealousy…you are acting against the Fruit of the Spirit. Perhaps each of us is a bit like Gideon in someway or at sometime in our lives.
When God uses our weakness for His strength….we need to stay in relationship with Him so that strength is not misused by the flesh. For Gideon, insecurity became courage and then courage became sin. Make sure you don’t cross the line with the gifts the Lord give to you. A wise woman knows when to yield to the Spirit and capture all thoughts through a Christ-centered heart.
I hope you’ll be joining the small groups this week to discuss week five. Did you know that next week is our last week of the Gideon online Bible study? This study has really gone by fast!
Assignment For the Next Week
Read Week Six in the workbook
Listen to Audio Session sixand seven or Video Session six and seven at Lifeway.com (optional due to cost)
Our womens online Bible study continues this week as we discuss our fourth week from Gideon by Priscilla Shirer. We expanded our understanding of God’s patience, unlike human patience.
The term “long-suffering” is used to describe this supernatural patience God has for His children. Using a keyword search in the King James Version I was surprised to see just three scripture verses with the term. I found Psalm 86:15 interesting, as the word long-suffering is translated to loving kindness (Amplified) and unfailing love (NLT).
But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. KJV
But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and loving-kindness and truth. Amplified
But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. NLT
But you, O God, are both tender and kind,not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit. Message
Rarely do we see these adjectives applied to any human! Read the verses slowly and let them seep into your heart. God is
immense in love
Our lesson this week also explored spiritual gifts and Priscilla presented 4 Steps in Giving Our Gifts to God. Four pages in a Bible study workbook are not orchestrated to help you Discover your gifts, so take some time and explore this further. Your local church might have information on spiritual gifts, you can find the information online or even read a book about it. Don’t ignore your spiritual gifts. Seek wisdom and discernment.
You’ll find a Lifeway Spiritual Assessment Tool online when you click here.
Finally, we explored Gideon’s famous “fleece test.” Hopefully you looked at times in your own life and discovered when and how God confirmed His message to you. It’s important to know the difference between seeking confirmation and sitting in unbelief, as Priscilla described so well this week in Bible study.
This week was filled with some great self-discovery questions, so I hope you took time to pray and complete the workbook answers.
Assignment For the Next Week
Read Week Five in the workbook
Listen to Audio Session five or Video Session five at Lifeway.com (optional due to cost)
We’re still reading Gideon by Priscilla Shirer and just finished our third week of womens online Bible study. I found this lesson so uplifting, I have to confess that several times in my workbook I wrote the words “Yes!, Whaoo! and Wow!” Did you find this week’s lessons equally exciting? The entire week is based on my One Word for 2013: Simplicity.
We learned the simplicity of turning a small portion of bread and fish into food for thousands. We saw how five small stones in the hands of David brought down his Goliath. We read the testimony of Gideon as he battled his army and his fears not by his own strength, but by the strength of God. Wow!
I’d love to sit beside you in small group and see what you wrote for humility and pride on page 76 in your Gideon workbook. In my own workbook I wrote down two strategies I can use to maintain humility: 1) keep memorizing scripture and Truth, and 2) continue to praise and thank God with gratitude for His many gifts. What did you write down?
We also learned this week about fighting fear and staying alert as members of God’s army here on earth. What does this mean to you personally? How will you apply the concept to your own battles in life. Do you seek strength from the Holy Spirit, or are you depending on self to carry you through?
Pray and ask for more discernment about this as you finish the remainder of this week. Look for ways that your feelings might not be in alignment with God’s Truth, and celebrate those that are inside His will. Finally, seek opportunities to apply this great wisdom from Priscilla Shirer “The secret is not in obtaining but in releasing.” Who or what do you need to release in order to be inside the will of God? What is God calling you to fast from?
Move with the Spirit, in the same direction. Walk closely with Him across the narrow path. He will lead you across the high road and not cause you to stumble…if you allow Him room beside you.
Assignment For the Next Week
Read Week Four in the workbook
Listen to Audio Session four or Video Session four at Lifeway.com (optional due to cost)