Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lesson 2 Chapter 2 What Eve Alone Can Tell & 3 Haunted by a Question

  This was the first night in the big room off the fellowship hall where we will be meeting from now on.    Deb S. lead an introduction to the chapters and then we broke down in to smaller groups to discuss the study questions.  Deb talked to the group how Eve is the crescendo..the final, astonishing work of God.  That she fills a place in the world like no one can.  And even after all that God made including Man, God said it is not good for man to be alone.  When God creates Eve, He calls her an ezer kenegdo.  The word ezer is used only 20 times in the entire Old Testament.  And in every other instance, the person being described is God Himself...when we need Him to come through for us...desperateley!     So let's think for a moment of women and men in the bible who we see were completely dependent on God to be their ezer.  There is Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Deborah, Esther.  Think about this then...God does not call us to a safe life....God calls us to a life involving frequent risks and many dangers.  Why else would we need him to be our ezer?   And so we now know that this is how God sees lifesavers, life givers, risk takers, unafraid of dangers...totally dependent upon Him!

    What does your heart do with being called the crown of creation?

    Deb told us that there was a time in her life when she didn't feel the beauty and the specialness that God has made each one of us with.  She had a left over crown stuffed in her desk drawer at work from a function and when she would open it she was reminded that she did not feel worthy to wear one. A crown to her was a reminder that woman is the crowning glory of creation.  She struggled through what that meant, and there did come a time after really reading this book that she could finally see herself as God made her and she could wear her crown.  Deb past around the crown and also passed out a bowl of Lifesavers for each of us to take and stash different places to remind us of the fact that God has made us women all lifesavers!  These Lifesavers will be on the information desk for you to take, as many as you like.
   Deb also wrote this:  The last few years I have watched a television program..called True Beauty.  It is a show that has "beautiful" contestant...each vying for the title, the most beautiful person in America.  What the contestants don't that they are secretly being watch ..and that the judges have put traps in place...circumstances where the contestants can be judged...not on their outward beauty..but on their inward beauty.  How  will they react to a homeless person or the opportunity to get ahead in the contest by cheating or stealing.  Yes, all the people are gorgeous and handsome people on the outside...but one by one each is disqualified when their true nature or their lack of inner beauty is revealed.  The best part of the show is when the judges show the contestants the videotapes of their sins or indiscretions.  It is always amazing how 99% of the time the contestants say..that is not really who I am...yet there it is in black and white for them and the whole world to see.  I love this show because I think this is exactly what it will be like in Heaven...God sees the inner man (or woman) as the case may be.  We will have no place to hide...and so to me, our beauty is really revealed on the inside..

A woman, at rest, is a woman of beauty.  Women who are striving can be so disturbing.  What she is saying is...all is not well in the world.

And so we read that beauty invites, beauty nourishes, beauty comforts, beauty inspires..Beauty draws us to God.  So we now understand that the essence of Gd is beauty..and that we too have this essence of God's nature and character in us.  It is part of what we are made reveal His beauty in the earth.

The next two question are :

What are some aspects of the power of beauty and how have you experienced the healing, restorative power of beauty through another person?

I  (Deb D.) don't know if this happened to anyone else but I noticed the words that I had in both questions had the same meaning just different words.  We all have read above and in the book that beauty invites (doesn't hurry), nourishes (positive), and comforts (non judgemental).  The words in the brackets are what when an other woman gives these to me, she helps to heal my hurts.  If a woman hurries to hear me, it doesn't feel inviting, if she is critical, it doesn't nourish my soul, and if I feel judgement it doesn't comfort me.  Everyone of us live in this fast paced world of ours, and we all face the one big question of how can we be inviting?  I would love to hear some feed back on this because I don't have all the answers.

On the other side of this it is such an uplifting thing to think that, yes, God always has time for us and that He really wants us to come to Him with our hurts, and it is His very nature to want to nourish and comfort us.  This book has helped me see God is not like my earthly Father.  I had too long put Him in that mold.  He was to me like my earthly father, distant, not knowing much about me, and was happy with me as long as I didn't get in trouble (sin).  But if I did look out, there was judgement, fear and anger.

There were a lot of times in my life I just gave up on myself because I could not believe that God would want anything to do with me and my struggles.

God had given me a verse to share with you all in I Samuel 12:19-24.  First let me say that prior in these verses in Samuel chapter 8 they demanded a king to judge them like all the nations.  They were the only nation with the one true God as their King and they wanted to be like all the other nations?  When Samuel prays to God asking what to do God responds "Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them."
"However, you shall solemnly forewarn them and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them."  Which Samuel in length did, and it ended with verse 18 And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.
19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey. They replied "No, but we will have a king over us, that we may be like all the nations." And God said to Samuel heed their voice and make them a king.  So they know their choice is not going to end well.

I Samuel 12:19-24  And all the people said to Samuel, "Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins the evil of asking a king for ourselves."  Then Samuel said to the people, "Do not fear, You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the Lord; but serve the Lord with all your heart.  And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing.  For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name's sake because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people.  Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.  Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you."

I think these verses can speak to us women with relational voids in our lives.  God made us relational to fill ourselves with Him.  But sometimes we want to pursue those things that the world tells us we need to be happy, or we simply don't like to have to wait on God timing for the things we want so we are willing to take less then we should.  We think like Eve, God is holding out on us....but really I think sometimes we deep down often know it will not end well when we demand and take our way.  And when we are hurting again after we take our own road God is calling us back because it pleases Him to make us His.

If we just would not turn aside, for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing.  There God tells us when we fill our relational needs outside of Him being first in our lives it will not end well.  He will never forsake us no matter what we have done or how long we have strayed away from Him.  Just like with Israel, he is ready to restore us.

All the groups ended with the same verse Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Did you see that, He sympathizes with our weaknesses, He wants to give us mercy and grace when we are hurting.  He is inviting, He wants to be our comfort, to nourish and inspire us.  How could we ever doubt His goodness towards us?

From the fall in the garden we are from this point on cursed...with futility and failure.  When a man goes bad, as every man has after the fall, he either becomes a weak, passive man-strength surrendered- or he becomes a violent, driven man-strength unglued.  When a woman falls from grace, she either becomes a dominating, controlling woman or a desolate, mousy woman.

Fallen Eve controls her relationships.  She refuses to be vulnerable.  And if she cannot secure her relationships, then she kills her heart's longing for intimacy so she will be safe and in control.

Women dominate and control because they fear their vulnerability.  Controlling women tend to be very well regarded in this fallen world of ours.  We are the ones to receive corporate promotions.  We are can-do, bottom-line, get it done women.  We may have never considered that by living a controlling and domineering life, that we are really refusing to trust God.

Which way do we fall and the important women in our lives?

Underneath our sin is a deep fear.  Of what are you most afraid?

And in our fears we look to other things to satisfy us.  We indulge in food, in romance novels, shopping, soap operas, etc.  The list is virtually endless.   We somehow know we are substituting these things for the intimacy we lack, but it is much easier to cover up our need than to admit it and to allow our fallenness and our deep ache to draw us closer to God.

And that is the beauty of this book.   For the first time in my life, it has revealed deep truths that are allowing us-giving us permission to recognize our weaknesses, our vulnerabilities, our sins and the sins against us--that brought us to where we are...and so we can, perhaps for the first time in our lives, go to God with the question that we have wanted answered our whole lives...Am I lovely? Do you see me?  Are you (God) captivated by what You find in me?


1 comment:

  1. It was deep! God was working on and still is in our Bible Study group. No matter what you are going through - trust him and he will guild your path, no matter how young or old you are! (Let your light shine! let it shine! let it shine) Amen!