Welcome to online Bible study at the Womens Bible Cafe! We’re discussing week one from the book Jeremiah, Daring to Hope in an Unstable World by Melissa Spoelstra. This week we studied “Raising the White Flag” and our lessons included:
- No Excuses
- Surrender and Popularity
- Defining Success
- White Flag Anxiety
We live in a culture overflowing with excuses, and this worldview has impacted our obedience to the LORD. “Insecurity and fear of failure can keep us from trying new things,” explains Melissa Spoelstra. It’s a constant battle to override our natural inclination to make excuses and embrace “Christ in me” as we move towards a life that reflects Him. My prayer for you as you work through this study is to override that natural instinct and learn to trust God with your excuses and your fears. It’s REVIVAL time for you and for me!
When God calls me, I surrender in love. He doesn’t need to give me a sales pitch, weight the pros and cons, or find five friends to affirm the calling. Nope. He calls, I obey. An example of this is when I founded the Womens Bible Cafe, and asked the question “God, you’re NOT going to make me lead an online Bible study, are you?” I already knew the answer. Though I was unequipped for the task, and no online studies existed at the time, I moved forward in faith. Because I answered the call, God is able to reveal Himself through several online studies and ministries today. Like the message of Luke 9:23, we surrender daily and not when we feel equipped or worthy of the calling.
It’s important to know the difference between a human call and a spiritual call. An example is when a Christian school offered me a librarian job. My family would benefit with a tuition reduction, I’d be working in an area I love, and I’d serve God by teaching children. Yet when I prayed on this, His answer was clearly “no.” Had I walked through that open door, the ministry you are participating in today might not exist. God knew the days before me, and with blind faith I walked a path of His calling and not mine. As Melissa Spoelstra writes, “Just as God called John the Baptist to fast and Jesus to feast, He sometimes has us follow different directions for His purposes. We need to stay close to Him so that we can hear.” When you wrap yourself in busyness, online games and social media…your distractions will distort your ability to hear God. Use your time wisely.
Jeremiah asked questions and waited for an answer. His willing heart was open to direction. Is your heart willing to listen too?
Being faithful and close to God does not automatically mean your life is without trouble. “Even the most faithful can feel anxiety and depression and struggle to believe God through rough circumstances,” says Melissa Spoelstra. If you are struggling in your current season of your life, we encourage you to connect with Family Life eMentoring at http://www.familylife.com/ementoring
Like Jeremiah, we too are God’s messengers. Take time to pray and ask yourself “What message am I spreading?”
Sample Video For Week 1
ASSIGNMENT FOR THE WEEK:
- Basic Study: Complete week 2 in the study guide, about 20-30 minutes each day.
- Deeper Study: Read Jeremiah chapters 7 to 14 in a Bible translation of your choice.
- Digging Deeper resources are available at: http://www.abingdonpress.com/jeremiah
- Optional: Watch session 2 video (optional due to cost).
- Memory Verse: Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies! On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed. But the God of Israel is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including Israel, his own special possession. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name! Jeremiah 10:15-16 NLT
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THIS WEEK (answer in small groups or post a comment here)
- What are some excuses you’ve made when God has called you? (page 13) If you are unsure of your calling, please post a prayer request now and we will pray together as a group, asking God to bring clarity into your heart. May He reveal your anointing and teach you how to bring glory to His great name.
- Share a time when God gave you instructions. Did you act immediately, wait, or ignore Him? If you initially resisted, what did you experience once you obeyed Him? (page 22)
- On page 25, Melissa Spoelstra mentions four ways that God brings confirmation into her life: a confirming word in a sermon, through a friend, in her daily Bible readings, or through circumstances. Which of these areas do you need to develop, and which one do you depend on most for confirmation?
- How are you defining success in your life? Complete this sentence from page 28 in the study guide: If I could just ___________ then I would be happy with my life.
- Where are you being dragged down instead of being a spokeswoman with God’s message? Where does God need to shine His light of nonconformity on your life? (page 33)