Women’s online Bible study based on the book Read the Bible For Life by George Guthrie, we are discussing week two in small groups this week. Join us as we discuss reading the Bible in historical and cultural context. Below is an update from Missionary Mom and Ministry Leader Stasia Nielsen as she shares her own experiences bringing the Bible to others. These are her words:
It was absolutely picturesque. The sun was setting in the west, and the waves tickled my feet as I lay on the beach soaking it all in. Now and again, the ocean spray would kiss my face with just a slight, salty mist. I closed my eyes and breathed it all in. It was my dream to be here, on the beach listening to the rhythmic sound of waves caressing the sand. The waves came in closer now, and the sand began to sink in around me. All at once, a giant wave crashed down hard upon me and I was immediately enveloped in the salty sea. Tossing and turning about I could not seem to make my way back again to the surface. I tried to scream but nothing came out. My eyes were opened and yet there was nothing but wet, pitch-black darkness. Then I heard him, it was my dear husband’s voice calling within the dark storm. “Do you have her? Where is Brittany?”
I must have nodded off into that sacred place of rest when the storm hit suddenly. Reality rushed back to me at that moment and panic struck the mother-strings of my heart as I reached about in the darkness for my two year old daughter.
We had been traveling throughout the Philippines sharing God’s love with thousand’s of people. Nothing stopped us as we went by faith from island to island and village to village telling people about our Amazing God. We had just left a little island where the inhabitants there had never seen white people. Brittany was their little doll and the elders of the village had us share our dramas and message with the whole of the small island. People were saved, healed, and their lives forever changed when they met the Lover of their weary and wounded souls.
Excited yet completely exhausted, we left in the middle of the night on a catamaran type boat. There were two men working the long boat that consisted of a small motor and a few roughly hewn benches. It did boast of a tiny tarpaulin enclosure off of the side, with a railing to use for a toilet. The passengers would politely turn in the other direction while you would hold on for dear life doing what needed to be done off the side of the boat. Very primitive. The one small light bulb that hung near the motor barely pierced through the darkness to the front of the boat.
Our plan was to travel all night from the wee island and arrive in Cebu midday to continue our outreach. It was to be another adventure, traveling across the ocean during the middle of the night by a long boat. We got as comfortable as we could on the hard wood planks. I had made a little bed for Brittany to sleep on near our feet. We were all so exhausted it did not take long for the rocking of the waves to lull us into sleep. Almost as soon as I closed my eyes I found myself resting upon the shores of my dream holiday. It was glorious, at least for a moment or two.
A few days later we would hear about the killer typhoon that swept through the area; the typhoon that we would find ourselves endeavoring to navigate through in the middle of the night in a tiny long boat.
We had no warning of the torment that relentlessly pounded us with the wet, cold sea. I frantically grabbed under my seat until I found her tiny leg. Miraculously, she was not completely terrified. I held her close and grabbed for John. I remember that it sounded as if we were caught in a large procession of trains. Absolutely ear-shattering. We were drenched, as water came at us from every direction. We tried to shout comforting words to those around us. There were only a twenty or so of us on the boat.
The thin line between faith and fear seemed as if it would break at any moment and we would be lost forever. It was as if we knew we were to die at sea.
I wondered for a brief moment what the disciples felt like when they were tossed about in their tiny boat. From that tiny thought my faith was built up just a bit. It would end well. It always ends well for those who love Him and have devoted their lives to Him. I could not let a storm stop me from believing that with all that was within me.
The storm raged for what seemed hours. Even though we felt as if we were all alone and lost at sea, The Lord had never let us out of His loving reach. When we landed on the tiny pier, we all fell to the ground, pouring out our gratitude to Him Who holds us all in His loving embrace. It was an adventure, an amazing one with Our Faithful Hero, gently leading us away from fear and back into faith once more.
This little story immediately came to mind while I read Day Three of our Read The Bible For Life. We could have easily been capsized, or even lost our precious daughter off of the boat that night. God was The Hero of that day. It was because of Him we prayed in faith believing that He would hear us in the midst of the storm. It was because of His mercies that we were able to share His love with the others who were on the boat with us that night. They who had no faith clung to ours and we were blessed to introduce them to Him Who saved us all from the deadly storm.
Time and again throughout this study, we see evidence of how The Lord uses His covenants to lavish His extravagant love upon His children. Take a few moments and reminisce over the life story that God has been writing within your heart and be amazed. He loves us so. God longs for us to understand that our lives can become a rich tapestry of the stories of His faithfulness and goodness to us when we give them over to His loving care.
To read more articles about the work we are doing in the missionary field please visit www.StasiaNielsen.com
Assignment For The Week
- Read WEEK THREE in your Read the Bible For Life workbook
- Download the Answers to the Viewer Guide when you click here
- Optional: Listen to the Read The Bible For Life podcasts or watch the video for week three
- If you are still waiting for your book to arrive, download week one from the workbook when you click here
Small Group Questions from page 50 in the Read the Bible For Life workbook (Post your answers here or share them in a small group this week)
- How much would it surprise you if God said to you and your church “I reject your worship. I reject your offerings. I don’t want any part of it!”? Why would this statement shock you?
- How does our culture view aging and the elderly? What are the presuppositions in our culture that foster these attitudes? How are these attitudes different from the views of aging and the elderly in the Old Testament (page 36)? What changes are needed to bring our attitudes in line with what God says about aging?
- Read Luke 9:23-24. How does knowing something about crucifixion in the ancient world help you understand Jesus’ words (page 37)?
- Review your responses on pages 47-48. Which aspects of your personal context most affect the way you read the Bible?