Monday, August 5, 2013

Philippians Bible Study (part 1)

Our pastor has been leading our church through the Book of Philippians for a few months. We are in chapter 4 now. My youngest son got to study Philippians at Bible camp in July. And now my friend started a Bible Study on Facebook. Which book are we doing first? Philippians!

I have insecurity issues. I know that most people have some sort of insecurity, but mine just seems to be extra bad. Especially at church. It's pitiful! I am so blessed to have a friend with similar insecurities. We talk about it from time to time, mostly trying to figure out how to just knock it off already! We haven't come up with a solution, other than Jesus, because of course we ALL need Jesus. But how do we fix our issues specifically?

Two weeks ago I went on a retreat with other women from our church. We went to a monastery. I was quite apprehensive about going because I grew up in the Catholic Church and have been away from it for about 12 years. Another reason I was nervous is complicated. Basically I have been a sort of self-proclaimed watchdog, feeling a need to protect our church from teachings such as mysticism and lectio divina. I was a little afraid that we would be taught meditation techniques at the monastery.

Our pastor went with us to open our time with a short devotion and prayer. He prayed that we would be protected from evil forces. I immediately felt more relaxed and re-remembered that God was bigger than everything I've been afraid of. Later in the day I found out that I was not the only woman who was concerned about our chosen retreat location. But it was not longer a huge issue for me. What a relief! I can still be watchful. I believe we all need to protect our faith. Jude urged his audience to contend for the faith. (Jude 1:3) But I should not be afraid.

Another blessing from the retreat was that my heart changed toward church. Specifically the women in our church. You know, the ones I keep finding myself insecure around. (I attend church with wonderful women. None of them have done anything hurtful. The insecurity is all me.)  Two ladies in a small group discussion admitted they have feelings of insecurity... even at church. Comparing ourselves to others is so harmful. Why do we do it? Anyway, it was a nice reminder that we all have those moments.

And because of reading Philippians again, I have a scriptural way of dealing with those moments when they happen to me. I have been reminded that they (other Christian women) "are all partakers with me of grace" and I should "hold /them/ in my heart." We need to pray for each other. We need to pray that our "love may abound more and more."
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace,[d] both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness,how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.    Philippians 1:3-11 
I love our church, God's church.

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