Friday, September 16, 2011

Fall '11 Blog Bible Study: Week 1

If you're new today, the Fall '11 Blog Bible study is a blog-based Bible-Study/Devotional designed for those of us who would like to take the amazing community of women bloggers online, and extend it to encouraging each other in faith. Right now, we'll be working through Paul: 90 Days on His Journey of Faith by Beth Moore. Each day has a short 1-2 page reading and a few reflection questions. Then, at the end of the week, I'll post some of my own thoughts/reflections, as well as a link-up. If you feel so inclined, I'd love for you to link up with your thoughts as well! If you'd like to join, but are just coming across this post now, it's not too late--just start whenever. And if you fall behind, no worries, and no guilt...we're all just doing the best we can, and none of us are perfect :)

In college, I took several Old Testament Studies classes. The Bible Studies that I've participated in thus far have similarly tended to focus on Old Testament books and people (David, Esther, etc). Despite going to church for as long as I can remember, I don't always feel like I have a good grasp on the New Testament--at least not the contextual information that always gives so much more insight into the words on the page.

And then, if I'm speaking honestly, sometimes a part of me feels like I need to do the whole Bible Study thing in order to win God's favor. Both of those factors (wanting to have a better understanding of the New Testament and also sort of thinking that having a better understanding of the New Testament would make God love me more) were two of the many reasons that underscored my desire to do this study of Paul. Not exactly my finest moment, but I'm just being honest here.

That said, Ms. Moore promptly brought that second "hidden" desire to the forefront during this first week on more than one occasion. First, during the Day 4 homework, at one point she said, "May I not just study Your Word to learn things and accumulate insights, but rather to know You and increase my love for You," (p. 20). Later, on an entirely different day, Moore said, "Without love for God and His Word, we're just trying to be good. Nothing will wear you out faster," (p. 27).

Oh my. That's exactly right--so often I find myself trying to be good, thinking that if I'm good enough/involved enough/tithe enough/if I study the Bible often enough, I'll be able to "earn" God's love. Instead, all it does is make me exhausted. In the last few weeks, I've been blessed to hear from a variety of different sources that the beauty of my faith is that God loves me not because of what I do, but in spite of what I do. What a relief. Yes, I should strive to do my best to glorify Him, but he loves me regardless. Even when I'm not perfect. in fact, there is never anything that I could do that would be too bad for God to love me. And that's a promise that I'm trying to claim daily.

What about you guys? Anything from this first week strike you?


  1. Hey Meredith, As much as I want so badly to do this study with you all, I know there's no way I'd be able to commit with the baby around the corner. But I'll be following along and enjoying the insight from your weekly updates :)

    With that said, I totally feel ya this week! Right now I'm not doing any devotions or bible studies and feel like God isn't pleased with me. It's a human emotion I wish I could completely conquer and yet I've been battling it for what feels like a loooong time. I'm praying that the idea of grace penetrates my heart even more and I realize there's absolutely nothing I can do to earn or lose God's favor.

    Enjoy the study :) I'll be following from afar!

  2. First off, let me reassure you that God loves you on your mountain-top and in your valley THE SAME. Nothing, and I repeat NOTHING you can do or have done will make Him love you any more or less. You are a child of His, and just as you love Lizzy with all your heart, He loves you unconditionally as well.

    That being said, I can relate. :) There's times that I feel guilt for not having a quality time with Him if the boys wake up too early, or if I (in all honesty) just want to sleep in. Those days I rest in His promises, that there is no guilt and no shame, just love.

    For me, the biggest thing I'm processing this week is the Day 2 study and prayer. "May I always stay hungry for your word, while being faithful also to share its riches with others, with my children." And then at the end, "Keep my family and me continually in your Word, and keep your Word continually in us." This week, that is my prayer. That I would be reminded to pray DAILY for my husband as he leads our family. That I would have everything I need to invest and nurture my boys as He's called me to do. And that I would ALWAYS stay hungry for more of Him.

    Thanks again for hosting this. <3

  3. I wanted to do this - but with my book budget so low (non-exisitant) right now and both library's not having this one... I am just going to have to follow along.

    God wants you to want to please him... Deuteronomy 10:12. He can't love you any more than he already does -but trying to please him and learning about him will make you love him more.

  4. As soon as i started reading the post I wanted to join. And then when I read the excerpts I know I have too. Hope to caught up next weeki am exhausted and know I need to hear/read this.


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