Tuesday, January 17, 2012

You know it when...

4:53 p.m. Today's project was to lead my discussion group at Bible study today. We've been learning about James, our Savior's half-brother, and with that information we discussed the separation of Jews from Gentiles that preceded the formation of the early Church. (And caused vehement controversy well into the next decades, as I covered in Galatians: An Exploration of Faith & Freedom)! But as Ephesians 2:14a states,

He is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation... 

My favorite verse on this subject is the Apostle Paul's declaration in Galatians 3:28:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

In our group discussion of falling into the "comparison trap," we all had examples, even painful ones from childhood, of comparisons that were made between siblings, or ones we make about ourselves and others. I shared my favorite verse on this subject, 2 Corinthians 10:12, which I learned and took to heart as a young women's Bible study teacher:

For we dare not class ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves  among themselves, are not wise. 

Foolish indeed, and unscriptural--God has made each of us exactly as He chose to, and will use us and grow us as HE sees fit!

But our most impassioned sharing, in which almost everyone participated, was on the topic of discrimination, whether practiced by 1st century Jews against Gentiles, or the segregation that was the law of the land in many communities in our own country. One group member of Jewish extraction had a cross burned on her front yard by Klan members in El Monte,and was severely beaten up as a six -year-old for her religion. Others shared how they had never seen an African American until later in their lives! Others were despised because they were poor. The glass ceiling against females was notorious. And I pointed out that in Redlands, blacks only began moving into the south side about the time I graduated high school in 1969. (The schools were integrated, of course, and I had many friends in that part of town. But our family couldn't buy a home there). So we had a rich discussion of all the barriers Christ broke down: religious, racial, economic, gender.

Praise God for Jesus Christ and all He means to each of His children, no matter what part of the societal spectrum they came from!

It's funny, the way the enemy had me thinking, "I'm so tired today, not really into it." But the Holy Spirit encouraged me to go forth and serve with all my heart, once I determined that I was going to lead my group no matter what!

As I shared from the Word, and listened to my women sharing, I knew what I knew, and know what I know: Bible teaching and women's ministry is my calling, my love, my life, apart from that with my family. God's word skillfully taught to me for the last 31 years, and my own delving into the Bible for myself has made me the person I am today, and influenced every single endeavor I undertake.

Believer, when your ministry causes you to "rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory," (I Peter1:8) that's when you know you're where you belong!

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