‘When Life Doesn’t Work Out Like You Planned’
First I want to remind you that today’s topic will come in two parts. The way the material worked out, I could either make one very long lesson or two moderate sized ones. I’ve chosen Plan B simply because the confines of Blogland demand it. Believe me, there is SO much more detail I want to give you on each Lesson, but I believe God has asked me to keep this manageable in both time and space. To say I am exercising restraint is an understatement..:) Can I tell you again how thrilled I am that you have joined me in this study? I am having the time of my life meeting you and exchanging insights much like we would if we were in a small group together. I remain amazed at a technology that allows women from all over the world to interact almost as if we were in one of our own family rooms. Aren’t you?!
As we did in previous lessons, we will toggle back and forth between the Exodus 2 version of Moses life and Stephen’s confession in Acts 7. Let’s take a closer look at Acts 7:23 which says, “But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel.”
I am about to jump out of my chair to show this to you! Notice the phrase ‘approaching the age of forty’. This phrase is literally translated, “When a forty year old time was being fulfilled for him.” Do you remember how we talked about Moses’ being born exactly when necessary to be the right age at the right time for Israel’s deliverance? Be reminded in Acts 7:17 that the time of the promise of deliverance was approaching. Let me suggest to you that if Moses’ physical birth was the beginning of that fulfillment of promise, then this desire to see His brethren was spiritually speaking a 40-year, in-utero second birth into the purpose for which God created him. God was not inactive during this preparation time. He was simply forming the desires and experiences necessary for Moses to undertake this great task. I am reminded of Phillipians 2:13, “for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Robertson’s Word Picture of the New Testament describes this desire to see to see the welfare of his brothers as ‘coming up from the lower deeps of his nature.” Stirrings this far down only come from One Source, girls. These go beyond feeling straight to the Spirit. God had a people to rescue and it was time to raise His deliverer.
Hang in here with me on this next point. I preface it by saying sometimes you will question the common sense of your teacher but this just rang out in my head so I went with it. Here it goes…God has made you in the words of Lionel Richie (can I quote him in a Bible Study?:)) once, twice, three times a Lady. (Can’t you just hear him singing it or am I totally dating myself?) Here are the three ways: He has placed you just in time, has saved you by His lovingkindness, and either has given or will give you a desire from the ‘lower deep of your nature’ to accomplish what He intends in your life. Some of you may be saying, “I don’t feel that Lisa. I don’t know what my gifts are. God is not telling me to do anything big. I’m afraid people turn away if I show them too much of me.” I will address those questions more in detail in Part Two of this Lesson, but for now it is critical that we do not mistake Big for Important or equate being rejected by man with being accepted by God.
We will stop here and continue next week by finding out what is really going on when life doesn’t seem to be working out like we’d hoped or planned. For now, let’s apply what our study has revealed thus far:
1. It was stated in the Lesson that God has made you “once, twice, three times a lady.” Where are you in this progression? Obviously we have all been physically born, but are you ‘twice a lady’? Have you been born again spiritually? This may be a private matter you’d like to discuss with a friend. If you have already received this gift, write a brief prayer of thanksgiving or testimony.2. Are you three times a lady? Has God given you a stirring deep within your Spirit to be a ‘deliverer’? Do you have a desire or are you already meeting a need in the life of the church, a particular ministry (such as jail ministry, food ministry, etc.) or perhaps individuals who share common issues?
3. Do you ever get tired of waiting for that opportunity to do something worthwhile for God? Do you ever feel God is using someone else instead of you?
4. What do you consider ‘worthwhile ministry’? Are you like me and sometimes find yourself mistakenly thinking it has to be Big to be
5. Have you ever taken a spiritual gifts test? If yes, what are yours? If no, here’s a good one from Ephesians 4 Ministry. Will you take it and come back with a response? Knowing some of you like I already do, I can almost pick out what your gift is before you say it. I can’t wait to see if I’m right!