Saturday, 25 July 2009

A Fantastic Thursday

In the morning
Today was the first day back for our church Women's Gathering. We began the term with seven women present and another four women absent on the day for one reason or other. We studied Acts 9:1-18, the story of Saul's conversion to Christianity. We had a fantastic conversation about the story, considering questions such as Who caused Saul to become a Christian: Saul, Ananias, the Lord Jesus, or the LORD God, or someone else not mentioned in the passage? Give a reason for your choice. In our (newly assigned) prayer triplets, we prayed that we will be prepared to tell other people about Jesus, ignoring our own assumptions about how they will respond.

Each week, I give the women a page of Taking it Further questions for optional homework. This week, one of the sample questions connected Acts 9:17-18 with a passage later written by Paul in one of his many letters: Read 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:6. What does this passage tell you about the reasons people resist the truth about the only way to salvation (through Jesus Christ)? Take time to pray for those people you have known for a long time, who have always seemed unable to understand or accept what you have told them about Jesus. Ask God, by His Spirit, to give them saving faith in Jesus Christ.

The thought of Saul's dramatic turn around, from one of the foremost persecutors of the Christian church, to one of the church's most prominent promoters, stuck with me for the next few days. I found myself thinking, as I later wrote in an email to a friend, how Saul must have seemed like such a lost cause (in terms of conversion to Christianity) and yet Jesus reached out and met him and then SNAP! He was totally on fire for God! I was left wondering how many other potential Pauls are out there, arguing themselves blue in the face against God, following Allah or Isis or atheism or whatever other idol they have, and God might be just about to touch their lives through some simple confrontation with the gospel at its plainest - “You are persecuting Jesus Christ, the Son of God, when you reject Him, yet He wants you to do what He says, He has a plan to use your life for God’s glory, and He has already laid His life down for yours.” How many of these potential Pauls are in my street and suburb? How many are waiting to hear this gospel message from me?

God, you amaze me with what you do in the life of each and every believer on the particular day when they come to faith. Such grace! Such perfect, infinite grace!

At lunchtime
I met up with one of the women who hadn't been able to attend the Women's Gathering, who usually comes. We went to a nearby shopping centre for lunch, while Jeff took the kids home for lunch and a nap, giving me one hour with C.C and I spent about 20min eating lunch and catching up on each other's news; 20min talking about our hopes and dreams for the women in our congregation, and how we might reach out to other women who live nearby with the gospel; and then spent the final 20min in a wonderful time of prayer together. We prayed for our church's elders as they lead our congregation according to God's guidance; for the wives of these elders as they support their husbands in their ministry to the congregation; for the women who come to our church, whether single or married, old or young, working or at home, that they might grow in their faith in Jesus Christ; for the women who are not of the church, but who one day, like Paul, will come to know Jesus as their Lord. We also prayed for ways to disciple women in the congregation to a deeper faith in God (and for them to desire that for themselves); for the women of the church to serve each other in this way, edifying the other women; for ways to reach out and share the gospel with women in our local area who do not know Jesus; and for other women in our congregation to desire to reach out in this way. It was very very encouraging to sit with another person and pray aloud, yet quietly, in the midst of the chaotic shopping centre, for the glory of God to be extolled in the people of our congregation.

In the afternoon
Jeff got the three younger kids to play at being polar bears, while Joshua pretended to be a wildlife photographer. They even caught and ate a "seal", a toy puppet dolphin. Then, of course, they had to sit and watch the "movie" Joshua had made, really, a National Geographic DVD we have on life in the Arctic.Jeff was a really big polar bear in his fluffy dressing gown, and you can see Joshua's "hide" in the background, covered over with a white blanket of "snow".
In the evening
I went out to a Big GEMs meeting, to get my regular fix of motherhood encouragement.The speaker was Mel Hayde, author of Terrific Toddlers, who spoke on the topic of Self-Control: Training Toddlers to Teens. It was a great encouragement to me and just what I needed, given how some of the kids have been behaving lately and my growing realisation that my recent parenting choices are as much to blame as their sinful hearts.

It was also a treat to meet some other mothers whose kids go to the same school as Joshua, and find that there is local interest in starting up a monthly Small GEMs group near where we live now.

I went home very, very happy. It was a fantastic day. Thank You, God, for days like this.

5 comments:

Mrs. Edwards said...

Boys and self-control--I think only God can accomplish this! It is a big challenge.

This is becoming my number one issue with my sons. It is sinking in with me that grown men with anger/violent outburst problems have never changed from the time they were six! I see my sons and think, "If we don't conquer this you are going to be a total mess."

Praise God for a great day!

Mrs Adept said...

I was thinking about going to the Mandurah one, but then thought - too difficult etc ...... although it would of been nice to have gone.

Alison Lacey said...

As we have not been blessed with the pitter patter of tiny feet yet could you please explain what big GEMs is. I'm assuming its a place where parents talk with other parents about raising their kids.

argsmommy said...

A fantastic day, indeed! I love hearing about your Bible study. It sounds like you have a wonderful women's ministry and a healthy church.

Sharon said...

Ali,

GEMs is "Godly Encouragement for Mums". Basically, a group of women who get together for a talk on some aspect of mothering with a Q&A session and a chat afterwards. It has been a great help to me in getting practical, workable ideas for dealing with mothering struggles. More than just the average mothers' networking group.

~ Sharon