Read the Bible For Life Online Bible Study Week 3

By October 6, 2013Read the Bible For Life
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Women’s online Bible study based on the book Read the Bible For Life by George Guthrie, we are discussing week three in small groups this week. Join us as we discuss the how to read the stories of the Old Testament. Below is an update from Missionary Mom and Ministry Leader Stasis Nielsen as she shares her own experiences bringing the Bible to others. These are her words:

We rambled along in an outdated bus that spewed forth billowing black clouds of exhaust to the pedestrians jammed along the streets of Mexico City.  The summer of 1986 the city was alive with excitement for the World Cup Soccer Tournament.  It was truly amazing that the government desired to go ahead and host the Tournament after the worst earthquake in its history just a few months before.  Not only was there a strong sense of pride that drew the people together to put their best foot forward, but it was also the government’s attempt to prove to the world that they had the disaster well in hand.  Mexico was in the middle of a thrilling series of events and the eyes of the world seemed to shift in her direction.

We had been serving the Lord in a very rural and poor area after the horrific earthquake.  We worked with a few local churches as well as a university where we started a group for the new Christians.  We preached Christ wherever we went.  With so many events happening, we had plenty of things to keep us occupied. On occasion we would just travel about in the world’s largest city sight-seeing and meeting new people wherever we went.

One day, we had some friends accompany us to visit some of the famous buildings.  After three bus rides and a lot of walking we ended up at our desired destination.  The Basilica de Guadalupe was built near a hill in Tepeyac where it is believed that the Virgin Mary (or Our Lady of Guadalupe) appeared to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin on at least four separate occasions.  Juan Diego’s first “apparition” as it is so called, happened in 1531 and a shrine was built soon thereafter. There is a long and fascinating history regarding Juan Diego, the Basilica and the pilgrimages that have been made there ever since that first encounter.

For more than 500 years the devoted have gone on pilgrimage to the Basilica.  Millions of people come from all over the world each year to see Juan Diego’s tilma (cloak) on which the image of Guadalupe can still be seen.  Since I have always been a lover of all things historical and being raised in a Catholic home, I wanted to visit this important place.  What took place that day was forever etched into my mind.

Throngs of people were scattered about the entrance of the Basilica.  Tourists clicked pictures and chatted excitedly.  Families stood about eating “chilied” fruits and snacks.  Crudely constructed frames held images of the saints and rosaries sold by vendors near by.  Devoted pilgrims moved slowly yet with purpose carrying flowers or prayerfully fingering their long rosary beads.  I stood with great respect as I knew full well that many were more devoted in their faith than I could ever hope to be.

Then we saw a young woman attempting to crawl on her knees toward the Basilica.  We were told that we might see people actually crawl or “walk on their knees” as a sign of devotion however, I was still unprepared for it.  This young woman was having great difficulty moving along, obviously from extreme pain.  As she came closer toward where we stood, we were able to see she was being accompanied by an older woman, who held precious rosary beads and prayed as they moved along.  The girl wept loudly and you could see that her jeans were torn beyond repair.  Her bare knees marked each place where they had been with a tinge of blood. I just could not wrap my mind around the sight.  Why, How, could anyone do this?  What does it mean?  I could not fathom it.

We discovered later that the young girl had come from her village many miles away to show her penitence to the Lord by walking the whole of the way from her village on her knees.  They were amongst the indigenous tribes of the area, steeped in tradition and mysticism.  This was their way, their beliefs, and something I simply was unable to comprehend.

Many times as we study the Old Testament, we are unable to wrap our minds around the customs, traditions and simple meanings of the text because they are so foreign to us.  We need to know the principles behind the laws and customs in the Bible.  Everything written in God’s Word has value and meaning for us, even the things we do not readily understand.  As we study the Law and the Prophets we need to learn how to find and apply those principles and values in our lives.

“They (the books of the Old Testament) continue to reveal God to us, teach us about God’s character, help us to understand the life and death of Jesus Christ and also provide us with guidelines for righteous living.”  Danny Hays

We shared the Lord with the young girl who was making her way to the Basilica on her knees.  Her devotion touched my heart.  It was with great love and respect that we prayed with her,  gently reminding her of the freedom we have in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”  There is nothing we can do to earn something that has already been gifted to us.

Although some parts of the Bible may seem irrelevant to us in this day and age, the principles within those passages are timeless.

Stasia Nielsen

Stasia Nielsen

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 FOUR 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 the Read the Bible For Life workbook (Post your answers here or share them in a small group this week)

  1.  Harold Goddard has written, “The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Explain why. (page 56)
  2. Have you ever know that God wanted you to do something but you were reluctant to do it? If so, how did God bring you to a point of commitment and obedience? (page 59)
  3. Who are two of your favorite Old Testament characters? What has each of them taught you about God? (page 62)
  4. Can you identify an event in your life that didn’t make sense at the time but later proved to be an important part of your story? (page 68)
  5. What is your favorite Bible study? What qualities about this story impact you? (page 70)

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Author WBC

Find online bible studies for women at the Womens Bible Cafe. It's also a place where you can meet other Christian women from around the world and fellowship together. If you're unable to a attend a church small group bible study then the Bible Study Cafe is just right for you! Look under "Current Studies" to see what we're reading. Bring your book and let's study the Word together.

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Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Anne says:

    1) I agree with Harold Goddard. People are passionate about what they value and that is what makes it worth standing for.
    2) yes there are times in my life where I have felt God say do something and I don’t have peace until I do it.
    3) Ruth redemption
    Job God is always there regardless of the circumstances
    4). I was happily serving in kids church as a leader and I felt God say to step down. I had a sabbatical and waited on God that year and He lead me into study now I do counselling and also it was a crucial time in my life when my teenagers needed me. Trusting in God even when you don’t always understand is the better option.
    5) having a Mary heart in a Martha world by Joanna weaver great insights into being in the living room with God our Father.

  • Rose Dickie says:

    I am not sure I understand question1. Is there someone who can clarify it for me? Thanks.
    Rose

  • rose dickie says:

    There was one time when God wanted me to do something and I really didn’t want to. He kept after me for a few days and actually used a t.v. program to help me to do what he wanted. It turned out to be a very positive event spiritually.
    One of my favorite old testament characters is David. If though he sinned against the Lord, his love for God was very evident along with his sorrow for sinning.
    Another character is Jonah. It just goes to show you that if God wants you to do something there is no way out.
    My favorite bible story is the one about David and Golieth (I know I spelled it wrong). It showed me that all things are possible with God.
    I will need to do some thinking about number 4.

  • Colette LaCasse says:

    I’m somewhat confused by the last few paragraphs. You stated you shared the Lord with the girl and went on to quote ephesians. You stated you were raised in a catholic home but didn’t understand what she was doing? I guess my confusion, or question rather is are you no longer catholic?

    • Dear Colette, Thank you for your comment. Actually, I was raised in an Italian Catholic home, and had never heard of “knee walking” before our time serving as missionaries in Mexico. I am pretty sure I was not raised, as I had mentioned, in such a devote home. As a matter of fact my father was catholic, and my mother was atheist. Yes, I did quote that scripture from Ephesians to her as well as many other scriptures. There is something within all of us that longs to show our penitence for wrongdoing, and there is nothing at all wrong with that. We are in error, however, if we come to a place in our thinking where we believe that forgiveness and God’s grace in our lives is because of something we have done to acquire it. I had a wonderful time with this young girl, and I prayed with her and her mother. I assure you that they were not at all offended, but they were in whole-hearted agreement with what the Bible has to say about God’s Love, Mercy and Grace. Thank you so much for your comment. May the Lord richly bless you!

Thanks for joining the discussion!