Out of the Box (Week 1, Day 5)

We’re finishing up week one with Priscilla Shirer, reading One in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land. Our lesson today is about conforming and staying inside the box of religion. Reading this lesson, I wonder if many people do not attend religious worship because they feel outside the box. When we begin to experience things outside the box, a hunger and craving for the Word and for God, we frighten people.

box

Joy and passion overflow as we purpose our life to KNOW God. To KNOW Jesus. To KNOW the Holy Spirit. This intensity frightens people, so they find ways to tell us to get back into a comfort zone they are familiar with. Maybe you’ve heard this from some of your religious friends:

  • “You can’t say that in Bible study, you need to keep the conversation generalized and less intense.”
  • “You scare people with your faith….it’s too intense and people doubt that God can really say/do that in you life.”
  • “Calm it down. God is not the author of confusion. I’m confused by what you are saying, so it must be Satan, not God”
  • “Prove it. What facts can you show me to convince me that God is really speaking to you.”
  • “Are you feeling alright. Is something wrong with you. Why are you acting so euphoric?”

Maybe it’s easier to stay inside your box, not share God’s presence in your life, and stay seated at the table of religious norm. Or….maybe you can find some true friends of faith….women you trust…who will listen and guide you in wisdom, not fear. Are you a woman who carried the little box…and when your friends meet the rites of passage, you allow them inside? Or…are you the woman like Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Joyce Meyer, Kay Arthur and Anne Graham Lotz….and when your friend says “God just spoke to me” you listen, in faith, not disbelief.

I ‘m the woman who listens and believes. Your story is safe with me, I respect you for trusting me with your experience. I’m not going to ask you to prove it…I’m going to ask what I can do to support your calling or your ministry. I’m not going to ask you to give me details, validate, and speak to a religious leader for authorization to share your experience. I’m the woman who KNOWS God and KNOWS He speaks and KNOWS that when He speaks to you, I’ll be the friend who listens and believes. I’ll encourage you, not discourage you. I’ll meet you outside the box…..with arms wide open. I’m that kind of friend. In my home, you are welcome outside the box, free to be…you.

Prayer Requests

Heavenly Father, only You know our innermost self and You are the center of our hearts, souls and minds. We seek a relationship with you that falls outside the box and into the reality of Your Presence. We seek only Your approval, not the approval of our friends. We seek Your Presence….and when we we find it, we build upon that relationship. Bring each of us closer, speak to our minds and allow us to experience You in wild faith. We pray that each woman in this study is moving ahead in her relationship with You. Remove any obscured view we may have of You…and fill our life with Agape love and intimacy with You. Amen.

Priscilla Shirer Quotes

  • With each divine interruption in my life and in my theology, I received a golden sealed invitation to see God outside the box.
  • God’s work in us thus far isn’t a box into which He will fit, but a slab upon which He will build.
  • Fear of change and the desire to avoid challenge often stand in the way of a believers growth

Today’s Scripture Verses (NASB)

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. John 6:63

Group Discussion

On page 27, Priscilla says “Those who want to grow with God need to deeply search the Word and have an openness to experience Him in new ways.” What does this mean to you? Has your experience with God changed over the years? Do you have a desire to KNOW Him in a new way. Let’s start a discussion about this.

Following Him,

Author Christine Abraham

Founder and Ministry Director of the Womens Bible Cafe™ since 2009, Christine has led 60+ online Bible Studies for women. She completed a Graduate of Biblical Studies from Liberty University. She's an inspired writer, Amazon Top Reviewer and Blogger at LifeVerse Books.com Follow on Facebook

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Join the discussion 15 Comments

  • Jill says:

    I’m a little behind on the study, but I finished reading Day 5 last night. Now after reading the posts above, I can honestly say, “I get it”. I’ve been experiencing the loneliness of feeling like no one understands my desire to know God more deeply, to worship Him more honestly and to pray more expectantly. My husband is a believer, but doesn’t hunger for more of God the way I do. He seems satisfied with Sunday church and he doesn’t long for more. I don’t feel like I can talk with him about the Lord, it almost seems like he gets bored or loses interest. Anyway, I’m not trying to talk down about my husband, I’m just trying to explain how I feel lonely in my desire to grow in the Lord. I guess its good to know I’m not alone in my loneliness.

    Thank you all for your honesty and openness.

    • Christine says:

      What I’m learning is that God does provide people who do “get it.” They may not be our husbands our friends, because we are not all on the same faith path at the same time. When you find yourself moving forward, you’re correct in respecting those who are not on the same path. Simply run your race with perservance, remove any obstacles that hold you back, and continue your journey into a relationship with Him. In chapter two we read about our wilderness journey…sometimes that journey can be walking in faith with more passion than those we love, and it seems lonely, but necessary, for God’s purpose. Great study! If God wants us alone in the journey, it’s because He wants all our attention on Him alone. Jesus is the one friend we all have in common 😉

  • Angie says:

    I had to step out of my box in about 2003. I left my husband, who was actually the one to introduce me to Christ the way the Bible teaches and not the way man teaches. I was in a marriage in which my husband begame a drug abuser and could not see that God was there to help. I became closer to God during that time and He spoke to me regarding my situation. I finally left my husband of 16 years in late 2003. He called me a Bible thumper, a hypocrite and anything else that one could imagine. I prayed fervently for God’s will for me. I knwe that he does not want us to divorce but he did want me to be closer to Him. God is my first love and I had to water me so that I could grow. Since then I have become stronger in Christ and lead Bible studies at my church. So I would say that I stepped “outside the box.” My desire, to know Him and search for His desire for me, is increasing every day. I KNOW that He is at work and wanting ALL OF ME!!!!

    • Christine says:

      Thank you for sharing Angie. You’ll enjoy audio session Two, as Priscilla Shirer discusses our “wilderness journey” and why God allows us to be in this place. So excited to see your passion and desire for more intimacy with God. Have you read the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan?

  • Susan says:

    first, let me say, once again Christine that I thank God for you, your honesty, your insight and your taking/making the time to share with us through this ministry, This site came to me (Holy Spirit led) as I was seeking a woman’s study because I have missed that in my church (my husband is pastor of a small church and try as I have, I haven’t found a woman in the church to be as committed to studying as I am – -does that sound haughty? I hope not – it’s just I really love studying His word and I want to connect with Jesus in a deeper, more complete way. . .I have been lonely in my faith walk – -and you help fill a BIG void in my life – – than, just as I joined these studies, my life was turned upside down with the incarceration of my law-officer son. What is God wanting me to do? to learn? to change? I feel like God has thrown me out of my box! and here I am standing on the edge of this wilderness, trying not to climb back in the box — but instead to open the eyes of my heart, open my ears, and to seek wisdom, knowledge, I want to be renewed. I am broken, and am living in hope – – you have helped to offer comfort, encouragement and helped me grow closer to our Father, through the study of His Word. So, thank you! You have made a difference in my life! I want to know Jesus, more and more! so, as I stand outside my box, in the middle of a BIG STORM . . . I have Hope that as I am in this wilderness, He will lead me to the promised land . .but I won’t have to do it alone – -my Bible Cafe ladies will walk with me — and together, we will see Him! thank you, for being a reflection of Christ, to me.

    • Christine says:

      You make perfect sense to me Susan, because here in the online Bible study, women are more transparent without judgment and gossip from their friends. I’ve seen pastor’s wives in my church studies….and they are often hesitant to speak or to grow in faith, because church members expect them to lead, not learn. I’ve also seen celebrities who are unable to participate in small group, because they are unable to speak freely without being the center of a magazine cover. So here, at the Bible Cafe, we speak freely with our hearts. We grow in Christ.

      Please know that more than 700 people are reading this blog each day. You do not see many post comments….and that’s okay. They are observing and following and reading this blog. Some are starting their own online studies or church small group study, and using this blog as a model for womens bible study. That is God’s plan and purpose in us….as we inspire others to grow in faith. My hope is that someday, men will follow this format, creating a Mens Bible Cafe where they can learn and grow through Bible study. I’d like to see more men discuss the Bible and learn through a structured workbooks, such as Experiencing the Heart of Jesus by Max Lucado, a workbook format of Bible study.

    • Christine says:

      Recommend reading: Now I Lay My Isaac Down by Carol Kent. I saw her speak at a church conference and her story will touch you.

    • Windy says:

      I am in this bible study at a church currently. I definitely identify with what Susan and CHristine are talking about. My husband is a Minister of Music at a small church where I have yet to find another woman who would dedicate time to a bible study. I am so blessed to have found this site and blessed to find others that share their own stories.

  • Christine says:

    Wow…I just got back from the Leeland concert and what a powerful message. Leeland spoke about salvation, agape love, and being a son or daughter of God. He reminded us to be careful of people who call themselves Christian, and then do not treat us the way Jesus would. I often see Jesus in the people I meet, but are they seeing Jesus in me? Great seed to be planted in my mind….I’m meditating on this.

  • Hi Christine –

    I popped over here from Facebook, and I’m adding your blog to my Favorites.

    Thanks for an excellent devotional. Like you, I’m not content to go through religious motions.

    Blessings,
    Susan 🙂

  • mcProdigal says:

    I decided about a year ago to go public with what God was doing in my life. I was hesitant, because some of it is ‘out of the box’. It took me awhile and it took some courage, but I finally did and God has used the story of my biggest spiritual experience over and over to bring brokenhearted souls like me back to Him, to restore wholeness where there was once fracture.

    A friend from church read about my “out of box” experience last week and greeted me this week with her mouth wide open in astonishment. That blesses my soul. For every reaction like that, I get five who say they don’t get it or who don’t even see a spiritual experience in the story.

    I can say that over the last year, the ones who “get it” make it all worth it. My spirit bears witness with your spirit that your journey is special.

    • Susan says:

      I prayed for you – that God will continue to give you courage and strength, wisdom and love. The journey with God can be so lonely at times. I pray you will continue to find friendship, support and understanding. May our eyes all be opened to the power of His Spirit!

  • Christine says:

    My experience with God has changed over the last eight years. I reunited with God when I was in a Season of Grief (see: Beth Moore Breaking Free) and I wanted to know Him. I started attending different churches until I found one beneficial for me, and the started attending womens Bible study. After completing more than 15 bible studies, reading Christian books, listening only to Christian music, and running a Christian Business….I can say that my experience with Him has changed. My relationship evolved over time into one of Agape love and intimacy, and a craving for more of His Word and His Presence. Once I found that…I did not want to let go. And, I wanted to share it with others, so they too would have an experiential relationship with God. It’s why I spend my time leading the Bible Cafe studies. If just one of you find yourself closer to God through this study…then I have served Him faithfully.

    He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30 NIV

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