“…..not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25
This morning I gazed at our dining table that seats six, marveling at how in January of this year, three of us sat at one end of the table eager to begin the first Community Bible Study. We prayed. We shared some of our lives. We read the Scripture from week one in the study book Open your Bible. We prayed and hugged and wondered. Would the Lord indeed bring more friends to the table?
We hoped we would see His hand in this fledgling beginning.
I continued to gaze at the table. In early March God brought Sherry with her friend Terry. Sherry wanted to return, but her husband’s health pulled her away for a number of weeks. She hungered for this time. We promised to keep her in the loop. Terry’s life was full and getting fuller. She enjoyed the study, but we have not seen her since that first visit.
Wendy came in March. She brought her grief and tears. We sat and listened and prayed for wisdom as to how to comfort her. God heard us and brought yet two more to the table. Violet and Suzann, new to the table, had no idea what God was up to! Did any of us? Yet, we each look back and see. We see how He brought Violet from California; Suzann from a neighboring city for the purpose of touching Wendy, who had come from Ohio. At the first tear fall, they knew the sorrow that weighed Wendy down for so long. They reached across the dining table, touched her hand and said, “Grief Share saved my life.” Eventually it saved Wendy’s.
Continuing to gaze at the table this morning, I’m reminded of Pam’s coming. Her needs were so great. We hugged and prayed for her. She had to return to her home state to rescue another granddaughter. We kept in touch. Over the summer she returned with granddaughter in her secure guardianship. So many more hurdles, yet. Pam knows this meeting in the Word, the Fellowship, the Love is her lifeblood. She makes our meeting a priority.
Throughout the late spring and into early summer, God brought Sam, Pat, Mari, another Nancy, and Sharon. Others had come to visit; they shared, were prayed through, but their lives are preventing them from coming each week. We added them to our little directory. How can we not?
Beginning in late July, we had to move away from the table. We were overjoyed that now we who had put our feet under the dining table were all coming at once! From three to five to six, then seven squeezed around, all making room for one more. But when ten came through the door, we all knew. It was time to move to the couches and cushioned chairs of the den, bringing dining chairs to fill in the circle. Ten then eleven of us! All regulars! Be still my heart.
The question was asked. What have you learned?
What have you taken home with you? The unconditional acceptance. The love. The prayers. The “one anothers.” The “fellowship of the mat.” Just knowing there are folks praying for me. And in the hour and a half of our closing meeting before a much needed short break, we knew, as we talked through II Timothy 3 and Hebrews 6:19 that the Holy Spirit was truly present. He was comforting each of us as we gathered round one fighting cancer, and lifted up others with health issues, friends in need, and as we closed reciting the Lord’s Prayer, as we had come to do, it was all we could do to just breathe.
We were each so aware of His Presence.
Before the ladies come up the stairs to our home, each chair is touched with a word of prayer. The lesson is prayed over continually. He is truly the reason we gather together. Yes, we fellowship. We share prayer concerns, but we are challenged in the Word and reminded how much our Father loves us and values us and wants us to want Him.
When you yearn for a Bible study with women, He hears the deep desire of your heart.
You don’t need a Bible School degree, or even the most popular Bible Study book by the most popular author! You just need a teachable heart and your Bible and He will gladly be there with you and one or two friends! He wants us to gather together to study His word. He will make it possible.
Remember to give Him all the credit.
As I prayed for His will this day, moving my eyes away from the table and onto the chairs around the den I wondered what His plans were for our new study of the survey of the Bible. Who will He bring? I know there are other ladies in our community who want to hear of His love for them. So we are praying for others to invite and in this interim time we will continue to pray for one another and keep in touch. It’s what we ladies do best!
God bless you as you reach out to your friends in your community to tell them about the wonderful love of the Father!