My women's Bible study group is on our 8th study! Each one has built on the other. This group of women go to different churches and are comprised of Protestants and Catholics. It's a God thing that we were brought together. They are so excited to learn and purposeful about their faith journey. Week in and week out we meet and they do their "homework" and participate in the discussion. Several hold down full time jobs and have busy lives and a couple drive from 30-40 minutes away to come! They have gotten a taste of Bible study and have developed a passion to know more. And I smile.
I don't pick fluffy studies. I know what I choose is challenging. But they want to be challenged. They want to go deep. I see God's hand working in our little group. Sanctifying His saints.
I taught them my Connecting the Dots of the Bible class going slower than normal and it took us 11 weeks to get through it. I wanted them to get the fundamentals down. We went through an online Theology Survey class which had some big ideas. We did a study on the Promised Land which had a lot of geography, but also taught us how God's people were to represent Him and how we were to be "living stones" (1 Peter 2:4-5.) As part of that study I bought them colored heart shaped glasses and we wore them to brainstorm how we could best represent Christ as we drove, worked, went shopping, on social media, etc. They know what it means to put on our "love glasses." It means to see others the way Christ sees them.
Then we tackled reading Philippians where they learned valuable Bible study skills - to know the background of a book; how to look up information on geographical locations, theological ideas; sources to use;... We really began to see how all of Scripture connects.
Now we are doing a study on apologetics. Things like is our New Testament text reliable? Did Jesus claim to be God? Was Jesus really crucified? We are using the book* Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi (affiliate link.) Nabeel was a devout Muslim born in the United States who had been taught Muslim apologetics from the time he was very young. He could defend his faith. But then in college he met a Christian who could defend their faith. They became friends. Over a period of about three years they had many discussions looking into the claims of Islam and Christianity. Nabeel sought the truth and he became a Christian. The book is about that journey and contains a lot of apologetics in it. We are loving this study!
Nabeel said that from a very early age his mother would tell him he was an ambassador of Islam. His parents, extended family, and mosque trained him to be able to defend his faith. "No matter where you are or what your are doing, you are an ambassador for Islam. That is your identity." We discussed if we see our identities as ambassadors to Christianity? And sadly, not really. We see our identities as Americans, as the wife to our husbands, as the mother to our children, as an employee of a certain company, as whatever profession we are in,... But as ambassadors of Christianity?
On Passion to Know More Facebook page I schedule out posts. A few weeks ago I scheduled out some excerpts from Corrie ten Boom's book, Each New Day (affiliate link - excellent devotional!) These excerpts started posting in the past week just as the news had a lot of accounts on the 75th anniversary of the allies reaching Auschwitz. Corrie was a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp. She had hid Jews in her home and had got caught and sent to Ravensbruck. I didn't plan for these posts to align with the 75th anniversary. It just happened that way because it was a God thing.
The day after my women's group discussed being ambassadors for Christ, this came up on Passion to Know More's timeline.
Christians are called to be ambassadors for Christ. They have the joyful and important calling of sharing the Good News.
~ Corrie ten Boom, Each New Day ~
Coincidence? No! There are no coincidences! God is reinforcing what He wants us to know. He is sanctifying us. Each and every day. And over the years this has been the case with these women. We learn something new and we hear it on TV, on the radio, someone asks us a question about it,... It didn't happen just once or twice, but over and over the women talk about how what they are learning in Bible study is being reinforced in every day life. It is amazing to see God actively working in our lives as we draw closer to Him. And I think that is the best part of being in a Bible study group. To experience Him.
Our women’s group discussed fruit of the Spirit back when we studied Philippians because Paul mentions "fruit" a couple times in that book.
Philippians 1:11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
They know what righteousness, justification and sanctification are because we took Connecting the Dots of the Bible and the Theology Survey classes. What is righteousness? It is being in right standing before God. When we are justified (saved/ believe) then we are declared righteous. As we are "filled with the fruit of righteousness" (sanctified/ becoming more like Christ) that is what glorifies and praises God!
What is this fruit?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
And the women continue to connect...the...dots. It is a beautiful thing to see.
Are we exhibiting fruit to others? Are our actions loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, self-controlled?
We represent Christ to the world. We may be the only Bible others read.
Be a living stone. Put on your love glasses.
Represent Him well.
You are an ambassador of Christ. A very important calling.
It is your identity.
* Along with the book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus; we are using the study guide and DVDs (all are affiliate links):
Purchased together: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, DVD with Study Guide