So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.I Thessalonians 2:8
By Jamie Harms
The women’s ministry team at UFC strives to live out the sentiments Paul expressed in I Thessalonians 2:8 about his fellow believers. Paul loved his brothers and sisters in Christ so much that he spoke the gospel to them and modelled it for them with his life. He did not teach and then leave them to figure out how to apply the principles on their own. No, he instructed them and then walked with them through their daily lives.
Like Paul, we can be in God’s Word and speak it to one another as we do life together. Ladies, you have encouraged me this year as you have dug into God’s Word, brought your thoughts and questions, and come on Thursdays to encourage one another and to wrestle through the gospel together.
In this season of pandemic lockdown, I have been challenged by what the “sharing ourselves” or together part can look like. It is easy to want it to be exactly like before and feel like any other option could be less than, but our current circumstances have not taken God by surprise. He is still with us and at work in us even over Zoom, the phone, email, or snail mail. Real life is not always organized in small groups, in-person teachings, childcare, and amazing pastries. Those are all gifts and a way we have connected in the past to grow in God’s Word, but we can still grow while folding laundry and talking on the phone with a friend, taking a walk with a neighbor, sending a letter to a family member, or leaving baked goods or flowers on the doorstep of a sister in our community. In fact, our growth may be more so through these adjustments as God has given us the opportunity to establish regular times in His Word, for it to permeate our head, heart, and hands in more aspects of our lives.
Thus, as we start reading Psalms together online this summer, I encourage you to pray about and to ask two other women to follow the reading plan with you. Commit to reading the Psalms together, to finding ways to encourage one another with what God is teaching you, and to praying together. Here are some creative ideas for making this happen:
- Create a text chain and share daily thoughts about the individual psalms, prayer requests, and highlights of your day.
- Form a walking group that meets up weekly to talk about what God is teaching you.
- Organize a gathering in a backyard with your Bibles and cups of tea and pastries from the local coffee shop to catch up and to share nuggets of truth from the Psalms.
One of the beautiful things about Christianity is that we don’t study God’s Word alone. Before we can gather in the big group that we miss, pick your two Bible friends and jump into the Psalms, beginning this Monday, June 1, knowing that women throughout our church and community are doing the same. Here is the reading plan:
We have come up with five points to ponder as you study each day. These can be helpful discussion starters when you meet up with your friends each week. One way to process these points is to record your answers in a journal. It could be something that you have laying around the house, or you could spend just a bit on something like this Illuminated Scripture Journal, which features the psalm on the left side of the page and a dot journal on the right side. Keeping a journal provides a lasting record, a memorial stone (like from our Joshua study) to mark God’s faithfulness in this season.
As we studied Jude together, we discussed different tools for engaging with Scripture. These same tools apply to the Book of Psalms. Here are links to refresh your memory:
- Scripture and accountability
- Five W’s, dictionary and timer
- Context and cross references
- Bible Project, commentaries and copying the text
- Graphic organizers
One of my favorite things about being in Bible study with you, Ladies, is that I learn so much from you. The questions you ask and the life experiences you bring to the table give me depth of insight into God’s Word. I have been thinking about ways we can still learn from each other in a “big group” fashion over the summer, and I want to encourage you to use the comment section below or on our social media pages (Instagram or Facebook) with your thoughts and questions about what we’re reading. This will allow us to interact and to learn from one another — and to encourage each other to prioritize our meetings in groups of three.
I am so thankful for each one of you and to be able to call you sisters. It is such a privilege to jump into God’s Word with you and to walk together this life that God has given each of us.