In the Word Wednesdays – Week Two

Embraced by Holiness - Up Close and Personal

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I hope the flexibility of this format is working as well for you as it is for me!

We went on vacation prior to the original recording of this video and I’ve included a few seconds of highlights in today’s session.

I’d love to hear what you’re up to while you’re doing the study.

Remember, if you need to take a week off or watch the videos at some day or time other than Wednesday mornings, that is perfectly fine.

I’m so grateful and blessed to be studying God’s Word with you!

Should you have any trouble with the video, or not be in a position to watch it, I’ve posted the discussion questions and key highlights for you below the video. Today’s video is a bit longer, but there was just so much good stuff in this week’s homework.

I hope you enjoyed those little clips from our trip to the lake. Now, I can’t wait to hear how God is speaking to you through the Scriptures. Here are the discussion questions and video highlights…

Video Highlights

Day 1:

The general revelation of creation functions as a headline or book cover, beckoning us to go deeper in our knowledge of God.

Discussion Question 1. Flip over to page 35 and locate the “growth/leaf” question toward the bottom of the page. “What are some things in nature that quickly draw your thoughts to the Creator and initiate praise? What are some ways you can purposefully foster praise?”

Day 2:

God provides specific revelations of himself to his people. We have the inspired Word of God as one of these forms of specific revelation. Before God’s people had Scripture, God revealed himself to them on specific occasions by speaking to them directly. Exodus 19 provided an example of one of these specific revelations in which God formally introduced himself to his people.

Discussion Question 2. Consider the Mt. Sinai experience of the Israelites which we studied in Day 2 (pages 40-42). Have you ever had a Mount Sinai experience? A moment when you were overwhelmed by God’s holiness? Has he ever revealed himself to you in a way that caused you to tremble or brought you to your knees? If so, please give us a brief account of your experience and how you responded.

Day 3:

If we are unacquainted with the whole of Scripture, we can get a skewed view of God. Some people have a tendency to think Yahweh (or Jehovah), the covenant God revealed through the Old Testament scriptures, is different in nature than Jesus. A careful study of Scripture reveals God’s nature does not change, and Jesus and Yahweh, though distinct persons, are one in terms of their holy nature.

I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”God speaking to his people
Malachi 3:6, NIV
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”James 1:17, NIV

Discussion Question 3(a). Review your notes from pages 43 and 44 where you looked up various Scripture passages about Jesus. Did anything you discovered in those passages surprise you? If so what was it?

Discussion Question 3(b). Did you learn anything from Day 3’s study about Jesus that will change the way you relate to Him? If so, what was it and how will it affect your relationship?

Day 4:

The following question is not actually in your book. I made this one up after studying, in Day 4, the different responses of Moses and the Israelites to God’s presence. Moses was willing to risk everything to draw closer to God while the Israelites pulled back from even the reflected glory of God.

Discussion Question 4. Contemplate drawing close to God and the preparations and changes to your life that involves. What kind of reaction do you have? Does it tend to be more like Moses’—rush headlong toward God despite the risk and fear, or is it more along the lines of the Israelites’ response—hesitate and pull back in fear and trepidation of the changes such an intimate encounter will produce in your life? Your reaction, like mine, may change depending on the specific circumstances. If so feel free to elaborate on what causes your reaction to change.

Day 5:

We looked at the process of sanctification. I pointed out the need for our active cooperation with God. I likened it to a dance. We follow God’s lead and let him direct us; he leads, we follow actively in the process.

Discussion Question 5. From Day 5, page 55:  Think of the things that help and hinder your process of spiritual consecration or sanctification. What tends to draw your focus away from God? How would you feel about abstaining from those things for a limited period of time to concentrate on him? What might be helpful to you in your process of consecration (setting yourself apart to worship and be used by God)?

Preview of Week 3:

In Week 3, we will explore several Scriptural accounts of people encountering God and how they responded. These positive and negative responses will help us prepare to respond appropriately to God’s holy presence.

Memory Verse for Week 3:

If you’re participating in this aspect of the study, here is the verse to work on this upcoming week.

Matthew 5:8, from the New International Version (but feel free to choose whatever translation you prefer):

Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.”

Have a great week and thank you so much for studying with me. I’m praying for you and look forward to hearing your responses to today’s questions. If you have any questions during the week, you can leave them in the comments below or email me at laura@mirministries.com.

 

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I hope you'll jump into the conversation by leaving a comment. I would love for each post to be like a dinner party conversation in which many people participate, each adding their own perspectives and ideas. Just keep in mind that we want to treat others as we would like to be treated, so please keep your comments constructive and on topic. Feel free to post viewpoints and ideas that differ from mine or others but refrain from personal attacks or offensive language. I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, or which demean or belittle another member of the Making It Real community.

  • So I’ll get us started with my responses to the discussion questions. Feel free to reply to this comment and ask for clarification, pose a different viewpoint, etc.
    1. The beauty of creation especially focuses me on praise for God when natural light highlights or showcases something. The sunlight cascading through the trees or moonlight glinting off the pond. I find myself thinking thoughts similar to those expressed in Psalm 8. I try to remind myself to be fully aware in the moment. Pushing aside distractions and focusing clearly has the effect of eliciting praise.

    2. I shared one of my Mt. Sinai experiences in the video: worship service at a Walk to Emmaus.

    3a. I don’t think I was surprised by anything, but I loved this exercise of searching the Scriptures for such a well-rounded portrait of Jesus.
    3b. This day’s homework really convicted me of how I tend to be chummy with Jesus and more reverential with God the Father. Even though I know Jesus and the Father are one, I don’t always express that in my prayers and actions. This is something I’m paying better attention to after this day’s study.

    4. I experience both of these (and places along the spectrum). Around January, I was so much like the Israelites when it came to the issue of self-control with my food. I knew I was giving food way to much attention and exercising no self-control at all. I felt the conviction and even put my copy of Made to Crave, Lysa TerKeurst’s book addressing this topic, on my bedside table. But when I started reading it and saw God’s glory reflected in the obedience of Lysa in her book, I slapped that book shut and left it to collect dust. I wasn’t willing to make the changes and face the truth that needed facing at that time. A few weeks ago, I told God I was ready and have made the mental and spiritual U-turn needed without fighting him. Nothing changed in my knowing what to do to be obedient in this area. What changed was my spiritual and emotional attitude toward God’s call to repentance and obedience.

    5. When I get over-scheduled everything goes haywire for me spiritually. That happened for me this past semester. Even though I study God’s Word during those times, I’m not having close communion with him when I approach Scripture and prayer as one more thing on my to do list. Since the end of May, I’ve repented in this area as well and the difference is dramatic. Not only in my relationship with God, but also in my relationships with family and friends, in the free-flowing ideas for blog posts, new studies, and really every area of my life. Amazing what happens when one actually practices what one teaches!

    With this past semester fresh on my mind, I’ve developed an “ideal week” for the different seasons throughout the year that provides a framework for a balanced and consecrated life. I’ve also sought out some trusted accountability partners to hold me to working within that framework so I abide in Christ the way I know I need to.

    Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

  • Patti McCartney

    Posting this for now, will finish up later. =)
    1. I wrote that the variety, intricacies, detail and uniqueness of every living thing, the vast difference in color, size and qualities of created things on this earth are worthy of our praise and admiration. God loves for us to love His creation and enjoy it, to share it as a testimony to his power and sovereignty.
    2. Lord, I want to feel your presence, to know you are with me every minute of every day. Please remind me and inspire me to long to dwell in your presence daily.
    3. b. I was reminded that Jesus went through all that we go through – grief, sadness, pain (as when he wept for Lazarus)….as well as joy, wonder, gratitude etc. He has walked in our shoes. There is nothing he cannot understand about what we are going through!
    4. Drawing near to God: Honestly, this concept instills some fear in me, thoughts of inadequacy and reminders of my sinful nature. But I think the reason this study resonated for me was because of the deep longing to rest in God’s presence and how that’s been missing for me. I’ve been distracted and off-course, I’m ready to get back on track.

    • Just beautiful, Patti! I’m so blessed to hear your words. Great observation and words of encouragement in your 3b! I think what you described in 4 is a feeling many of us share. Actually, a healthy fear and reverence is biblically sound. We are sinful and inadequate to bridge the gap between our sin nature and God’s holy nature. That is biblical, too. However, where I get off the biblical track is when I keep myself chained to something from which Christ has set me free. As a believer, His blood covers my inadequacies and I am invited to approach the throne of grace confidently as God’s forgiven and redeemed child.

      I’m so grateful for what you shared and I’ll be praying that God satisfies your deep longing to rest in his presence! I think he must be delighted to answer such a prayer from one of his precious children.

      • Patti McCartney

        Thanks for your encouraging words, Laura, and your prayers. I am really enjoying this study!

  • Robin Fogle

    Sunrise has always stirred a wonder in me about the the majesty of God’s creation. There is something about the start of the morning alone with Him as the sky comes alive. I feel like it’s all for me. Big Praise!

    Laura, you mentioned your Walk to Emmaus. That was a big Mt. Sinai experience for me also. However, God’s holiness continues to overwhelm me in those moments when I doubt myself & feel like I can’t do it all.

    The scriptures from day 3 really were not that revealing to me. I’m just really being beaten over the head right now about loving my enemies

    • Hi Robin, thanks so much for your contribution to the discussion! And the beauty of online Bible study is that your post is never “late.” Whenever you get to watch and respond to the videos is great.

      You’ve beautifully described your experiences. I’m curious, when you experience God’s holiness in those moments of self-doubt and feeling like you can’t do it all, do you experience his holiness as comforting? frightening? Does his holiness help you feel taken care of or like you come up short? Just curious cause I’ve had the experience of both ways.

      Ah, learning to love our enemies… that’s something I’ve been beaten about the head with as well. It doesn’t come natural, does it? For me it came down to obedience over feeling. I pray that as you draw close to God, seeking to be obedient to him, he will lavish his grace upon you. In my own time wrestling with that command to love my enemies, I found praying for them to be one of the most helpful things. Somehow when I was praying blessings upon them (even when I really felt like praying God would smite them), God did a miraculous work in my heart. It was a long, arduous process but it brought me so close to God. I had to lean into his power to do it; I couldn’t do it on my own. I pray he blesses you in a BIG way as you obey him in that area.

      I’ll also be praying for you and your family, especially the kids! Us mommas have to stick together on that. It’s so hard to uproot ourselves and try to find new community. I’ll pray specifically for y’all to find a great fit for your church home where you can get back into using your gifts to serve and to have relationships that minister to you.
      Thanks for sharing and participating!