I can’t believe we’re already on week 5 of our study, What Love Is by Kelly Minter! This week as we discuss the lessons from week 5 in our small groups, we’ll be covering these themes:
- The role of the Holy Spirit
In my freshman year of college, the campus packed a charter bus full of students with ‘leadership potential’ and took us on a retreat to the mountains of Western Maryland.
Most of us shuffled off the bus after the long drive and congregated silently on the sidewalk, awaiting further instructions. No one really knew each other so we generally avoided awkwardness by pretending to be busy getting our stuff together.
Not this one girl, though. She pushed right past the group and flung her arms open into the cool October air.
She spun around just as if she were Maria in the Sound of Music singing, “The hills are alive….” and this girl said, “It’s so beautiful! How could you see all this and not know God?”
It’s the first time I really noticed her. We’d spent a whole semester together in a history class and I think I knew her name and nothing else about her by the end.
But here she was, declaring the glory of God in front of all of us. She was bolder than I had been all year.
It turns out, I hadn’t known her at all, hadn’t know what was in her heart and didn’t know about her testimony and her faith.
Sometimes we think we know what’s inside the hearts of others. We think we can tell who is close to salvation and who is so ‘hopeless’ we might as well give up on them.
But we can be wrong
Maybe you’ve been praying for salvation for a child, parent, spouse, coworker or best friend for so long that you’ve grown worn out and weary or even just forgetful.
Maybe you’ve given up, not knowing if they are simply one step away from faith.
Rahab lived in that pagan town Jericho. No one would have expected her to be a God-follower, not a rescuer of Israelites or the one person in Jericho who was closest to salvation
She was a prostitute. Hopelessly lost, for sure.
Maybe that’s what we would have thought if we’d seen her walking the streets of Jericho.
But God knew her heart. He knew that of all the people in the city, she was the one person who believed that God was a God of miracles.
That’s what she said in a whispered conversation with two Israelite spies she hid on her roof:
For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below (Joshua 2:11 NLT).
Who would’ve thought?
God, that’s who. He sent those spies straight to her door because He knew she would save them…..and He knew that He would save her.
He knocked down a seemingly impenetrable fortress around Jericho, but kept her one lone house standing.
He moved heaven and earth to save a woman whose heart was ready for grace and faith.
This is our God with His heart to save, with His power to do the impossible and to share the Gospel with those who need to hear because He does not want “anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV).
We’re so tempted at times to limit God by only asking for what looks possible. Yet, in this week’s lesson, Kelly Minter quotes from Andrew Murray:
Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do.
Noone is beyond the grasp of God or outside the reach of His grace and forgiveness.
Nothing is impossible with our God-of-the-impossible.
Have you given up in prayer? Have you stopped faithfully asking for salvation for the lost? Have you written off your requests as hopelessly unlikely and even downright impossible?
This week, choose to persevere in prayer. Bring those requests right back to the feet of Jesus and remember:
Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for (1 John 5:14-15 HCSB).
BIBLE STUDY TIP:
I’m a mom with four kids ages 15 months to 10 years old. Life is fast, loud, busy, and messy at my house! People tell me all the time they don’t have time for Bible study, and I get it. The truth is we will never “have” time for God just handed to us. I never wake up in the morning and find myself with 30 minutes of absolute quiet and inactivity.
We have to make time for God.
But how that works might depend on you.
It may be that you need a set time and place to study. At the same time every day, you tuck yourself away in your quiet place to be with God. If you’re like me, I set up camp at the kitchen table with my Bible, pens, laptop and study guide. You may have another place that works for you. The point is that consistency helps you establish the spiritual discipline of time in God’s Word. This is probably the best way to make time for God—-schedule it and plan it in advance.
But, here’s the reality of my life. Every day, my schedule is different. My kids have varying degrees of patience with what Mommy has to do. So, what works for me in this season of my life is flexible discipline. If we only plan to study God’s Word at lunchtime every day and something disrupts our plan, we may never get back to Bible study. Instead, we fall behind and behind and further behind because our plan is too rigid.
For me, I know I’m going to finish my lesson today. I won’t click on the TV, flip open the novel or scroll through Facebook without it being done. But today it may happen in the morning. Tomorrow, I’ll spread out over lunch. The next day, it will be while waiting for my kids to finish their after school activities. I may even study in 5 minute increments throughout the day. If I have the slightest opening of time, I fill it with God and His Word.
ASSIGNMENT FOR THE WEEK:
- Basic Study: Complete week 6 in the study guide, about 20-30 minutes each day.
- Optional: To watch session 6 video CLICK HERE (optional due to cost).
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THIS WEEK (answer in small groups or post a comment here):
- What characteristic or role of the Holy Spirit means the most to you at this time of your life, and why? (from p. 133).
- Have you ever had to persevere in prayer for a specific request? Maybe you are even still waiting? What encouragement would you give from this week’s lesson, your personal testimony, or Scripture to someone who feels like giving up on a long-term prayer request? (from p. 135).
- According to 1 John 5:18, “the One who is born of God keeps” us as believers (HCSB). Kelly tells us that the Greek word for “keep” is “terei” meaning “to attend to carefully, take care of, to guard, to keep one in the state in which he is.” What means the most to you about the reality that Jesus keeps you? (from p. 145)
- Like the shepherds in Luke guarded their flocks through midnight’s darkness, the soldiers guarded Peter in prison, and Timothy kept what had been entrusted to his care, in what ways do you specifically guard yourself against idols? (from p. 150).
- In a culture of countless opinions regarding what love is, how has your definition of love either broadened or narrowed through this study?