The following are the highlights from the three sessions we did...
- The Uniqueness of the Book of Esther:
- ~ There is no reference to God. We study the book of Esther, because even though God's name may not be in it but it is on it. * Psalm 138:2 - I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise Your name for your love and your faithfulness, for You have exalted above all things Your name and Your Word. *
~ It offers tremendous HOPE. Hope is defined as confidence, eager anticipation, and expectation. I love this definition of hope. I'm not sure I ever really looked up what it means, but it's so much more than what I ever thought.
I can have hope in knowing God is in the middle of of my life - even when I can't see Him. This is most important to me, I think. Even when I am struggling and doing my best to remove myself from Him (whether knowingly or unknowingly), He is still at work in me. "Maybe God uses times when we can't see Him to do something bigger than we can imagine." (Beth Moore)
~ God attends not only to apparently momentous events and people but to those that seem both mundane and trivial... Indeed, so all encompassing is God's attention to events within creation that nothing happens by chance. "Faith is putting God in the middle of any situation." (Beth Moore) * Ephesians 1:11 & 12 - It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had His eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone. * * * * Philippians 2:13 - For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose. *
~ Don't miss the grace of God. Fulfill His calling. If we seek Him, He will find us. We must trust God's providence without a miracle.
Session Two: It's Tough Being a Woman in a World Where Beauty is a Treatment
- Even when we think "it was supposed to be different than this" - God is still at work. He is molding and shaping our lives for His glory. * Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." *
- God is attracted to weakness, because it is in our weakness that we have more room for ths strength of God. * 1 Corinthians 1: 26-31 - Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." *
- You cannot amputate your destiny without your history. In God, our past and our future share the same root. * 1 Peter 1: 3 & 4 - Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade - kept in heaven for you. *
Session Three: It's Tough Being a Woman in a Mean World
- Meanness always has a history (historically, Biblically, and personally). When we are fighting the same enemy as God, we will win.
- Meanness perceives a threat. * 2 Corinthians 10:12 - We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. *
Identify the threat - who is our rival and why? Insecurity is at the heart of every rivalry.
- Meanness catches like a virus.
This is so true - possibly in our world now more than ever. Women are so mean to each other what with all the gossip, backbiting, jealousy, etc. I wonder if it will ever end. The media certainly doesn't help. In fact, I think it often just makes things even worse. I am scared for my children - if things only continue to get worse, what will it be like when they are old enough to realize what is going on. Are they always going to live in fear that they don't quite measure up?
- Meanness is curable - do NOT take revenge. * Romans 12: 17-21 - Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. *
Isn't this just the cutest?!?
Needless to say, I got a lot out of this Bible study. I really wish I could continue with the Sunday School class at church. However, the children need me - hehe! That's ok - I think Amanda and I might try to finish it on our own once this Sunday school quarter is over. I'm so glad I decided to go on the Retreat. I had a great time, enjoyed getting away (cuz I haven't been anywhere since July), and loved getting to talk to a bunch of women from church.
My "roomies" for the weekend: Bekah, Jessie, & Manda