Thursday, June 28, 2012

Specifically chosen

9:50 p.m. Today's project was to teach II Samuel Chapter 4 and minister to the ladies who would be at  Malinda's. We had a small group, what with vacations, bodily pain and illness for a few of our ladies. Instead of a houseful, there were just five of us.

After 30 years of ministry, the Lord has shown me that times of rare and intimate sharing and healing come when a group is small. It's as if the Holy Spirit hand-picks the participants for a special work. The sensitivity a leader must have at these times is totally a work of the Spirit as well, because I cannot discern the inner workings of another person in order to comfort, exhort or encourage them properly. But God's word, the Lord Jesus (John 1:1-5), through the power of the Holy Spirit, can! Hebrews 4:12 says,

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

So I pray before we open up our Bibles, that each of us, not just the teacher, would be filled with the Spirit. My desire is to see Spirit-filled listening, questions and comments as well as teaching!

With the chapter being short (though action-packed) I'd already decided to take a good amount of time with answering a few key questions from last week's lesson. A small group made our sharing very open and frank, because the atmosphere of acceptance was already in place among us sisters. I selected some piercing application questions that followed the writing down of pertinent scriptures.

Question 6, Personal: "Tell how a seemingly minor incident was used by God to make a turning point in your life.

Each one of us shared movingly--or joyfully--about God's turning points. Can you think of one in your
own life?

One set of questions was inspired by the way that Abner, King Saul's commander, had such great influence over all of Israel. I encouraged readers with this comment:

You can also be a person of influence! Write these scriptures:

I Kings 8:61

Proverbs 31:10, 11, 20, 25-28

II Corinthians 4:5-7

Ephesians 4:29-32

I would encourage you to look up these verses and keep them in your heart!

At the end of the study, which is always very interactive, I know specifically why we needed to be so small today. One of the sisters poured out her heart, with the most gut-wrenching account of  difficult relationships in her family. One shared that she was given two weeks to move, despite her one-year lease; and her car is barely running. But she felt compelled to come to Bible study for prayer, comfort, and direction from God's word. Chronic pain, prodigal chidren, Steve's condition.  The Lord knows our hurts, and has a plan to "work all things together for good, for those who love God and are the called according to His  purpose" (Romans 8:28). Our prayer time was unhurried, expressive, intimate and healing. I hated to close, but we had run 15 minutes over. Keeping track of the time is the not-fun part of a leader's role!

I'll close with one scripture I have loved and been challenged by, Micah 6:8:

He has shown you, O man, what
  is good;
And what does the LORD require
  of you?
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Questions from A Woman's Walk through the Word, copyright 1986 and 2011, Dana Kruckenberg.

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