Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thursday Morning Bible Study

Welcome to Our Very First

All Scriptures will be from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

Feel free to take your time reading and meditating on the Scriptures and questions. Don't be in a hurry. Allow The Holy Spirit to minister Truth to you. If you are comfortable, share your thoughts and answers to the questions in the comment section. Don't feel pressured to do so if you don't want. Maybe check back during the day or on Friday to see what others are thinking and feel free to discuss it. And please don't hesitate to ask questions! 

So, grab your Bible, notebook, and a cup of coffee/tea and join in the Circle.

Okay, here we go with Lesson One:

Good Morning!

Let’s open in prayer:

Father, we thank You for this day, for this is the day that You have made. We do rejoice and are glad for it.

Thank You for the privilege of coming to your banqueting table this morning to feast from Your Word. We ask You to nourish us by Your Living Scriptures. And we ask You, Holy Spirit, to lead this on-line Bible study; that You dig deep in us and show us things we may not know about Your Truth or about ourselves. And we ask You to make Your Truths an integral part of us. 

In Jesus’ Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

Our Inner Hearts

One of the things that I love about blogging is that through our writing others can truly get to know our hearts - the essence of who we are. It has been my honor to come to know all your hearts through your blogs.

Our blogging community doesn’t see all our imperfections though - all the times during the days and nights that we fall short.  They don’t see how we react when someone hurts us or when traffic is heavy and we are in a hurry. They don’t see those “flesh” moments when we are cranky or angry; when we say or do something we later regret; or poor choices that we make that can wreck havoc.

If we are truthful with our written words though, bloggers get to know one another by our spirits (II Corth. 5:16a), just as God knows us, which is so very rare and special.

Heart to heart.

I believe every human being desires to be known - truly known - and loved. And to be truly known via our inner man, not just our outward actions. Because those two aspects of us can be very different.

A person can have a truly wonderful, loving heart, but due to circumstances or upbringing their outward behaviors aren't so loving or wonderful.  If we only get to know a person by their outward behaviors, we don't really get to experience who they really are; who they were created by God to be.

The potential to be better human beings lies within our heart - our inner man. 

A person can, also, do good deeds but have a heart of evil intent, right? The 9/11 Support Group woman is an example.  She did very good deeds helping those who survived the Twin Tower massacres. But, eventually, her evil heart was discovered.

And any one of us can get up on the wrong side of the bed. (For our Filipino friends: that is an American saying. It’s something we say when we’re having a bad day or when we are in a foul mood."I got up on the wrong side of the bed.")

Anyone can sin. Everyone does.

So, let’s start with discussing this one Scripture: I Samuel 16:7, in the Old Testament.

In I Samuel 16, The prophet Samuel was given the assignment from God to anoint the one who would be the future king of Israel. He travels to the house of Jesse and meets Jesse’s sons to discern which one will be king. He stops before one son, Eliab, thinking this was the one. But, The LORD speaks to Samuel in verse 7 and tells him,
Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him.  For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance but The LORD looks at the heart.
Obviously, they are two separate entities – who we are deep within us verses our physical appearances, actions, words, decisions, choices, sins.

How do we want to be known, by our hearts or by our appearances?

1. What is your initial reaction to reading that verse?  Is it comforting or not to know that God looks deep within you to your heart therefore He does not judge just on our outward man?
That word “heart” in this verse, in the original Hebrew, means: the very center of our being. 
God looks at our inner man. Yet, for the most part, we look at man’s outer man. Based on appearances or actions, we form our opinions and judgments. 

We also tend to compare our inner man to someone else’s outer man, don’t we?

Joyce Meyer once said, “Your appearance is the way you appear to be and not who you really are.”

Who is the real you?

2. Do you want to be known by appearances or by your true inner heart?  Why?

God chose David to be the king. Yet David was the youngest of Jesse’s sons – a mere boy at the time. He was off for months at a time tending the sheep, so he wasn’t even around his family that much. But, God knew David’s heart. He knew he had a heart after God’s own Heart and that he would be obedient to God (Acts 13:22). He knew the kind of king, young David would be - one with a Godly heart

But, was King David’s actions always Godly?

No. He made wrong choices. He sinned.

King David took Bathsheba (another man’s wife) and committed adultery, then had her husband killed to cover his own sin. His sin just compounded as he made poor choice after poor choice. His outer man didn't align to his inner man.

      3. Sound like you and I?

Even the Apostle Paul wrote about his personal struggles with his inner man verses his outer man. I suggest you read Romans 7:15 - 8:11 later. This is an awesome portion of Scripture, full of hope and grace.

Yet, David was known as "a man after God’s own Heart". God extended His Grace and Mercy to David because He looked past David's actions to his heart.

I know I would like that same mercy and grace extended to me when I screw up. I want people to look past my actions or words to my heart.

We all want God to look at our hearts rather than our actions on a bad day, don’t we? Don’t we want people to know when we screw up, that it wasn’t necessarily the intent of our heart? That’s why we say, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it” because it wasn’t the intent of our heart to hurt someone. Do you want grace and mercy extended to you when you make poor choices - not only by God, but also by those in your life?

We all want grace.  We all want mercy. But, do we all extend grace and mercy to others?  Are we willing to sow that which we desire to reap?

Here is a final question for you to ponder throughout your week:

        4. How can you and I become more of a people with hearts after God’s own Heart?
    Thank you, Dear Circle, for coming to our Father's Table this morning. May His Word be a feast unto your hungry soul.  I look forward to your sharing. And I look forward to meeting the same time next week at our

Have a wonderful week!  

Because of Him and Unto Him,


Crown of Beauty said...

1. My initial response to 1 Sam 16:7 - It is easy to put on a spiritual mask and fool others. But God can't be fooled, cause He sees right through my heart. It makes me feel so secure knowing my God can never be fooled, nothing is hidden from Him. This verse is so liberating for me. I don't have to prove anything to my God.

2. I never want others to judge me without them knowing the real me. That however isn't always possible. I can't expect everyone to know me inside out, for there are levels of relationships. And so when others judge me wrongly, I understand that it is because they do not really see my heart. In a way, that liberates me as well... from being offended or hurt. Truth is, I too do not really have access to other people's hearts, unless there is a deep or special relationship with them.

3. I want honesty, openness, and transparency in my relationships... especially with God. He can take my failings, but I know He will never tolerate hypocrisy. He desires truth... and that is also how I want others to know me - not as a fake, a phoney... someone who hides behind a mask... That is also how I want to know others - at the heart level, not the superficial level.

4. I can be a woman after God's heart by being humble, and by choosing to be kind and understanding in my judgment of others.

THank you dear Diane for this study. It was a good way for me to end my day.


Saleslady371 said...

Hi, Diane!
I'm so glad God judges the heart and not the outer appearances. Another Joyce-ism is "My Who is not my Do!" We can fool a lot of people with our "do" but deep down we have to get real and reveal the real person of the heart complete with strengths and weaknesses. I'm so thankful for the Bible example you quoted. I love David's heart and his passion for worship of our God. When he was so deceived with lust and also raising Absolam with parent issues, we read that consequences followed actions he took - just like for us today.

What encourages me so about all this is that I am "in process". Today I'm not the same as yesterday and the mistakes of the past do not define me. I am a child of God with a heart to put into practice what I am learning every day. And when I make mistakes, I hope I can always be as gracious as David and Moses when the consequences come for my actions and tough lessons I must learn.

I want lots of mercy so I better sow that in others' lives! Praise God for His Holy Spirit that convicts us when we need to confess sin. Also, our relationships tell us a lot about ourselves and what is needed to love more deeply. I'm taking the plunge with you today to put this Word in practice and grow more in love with God and people. I'm relying on Him for lots of help, too, to keep my heart soft!

Martha Herden said...

I feel so blessed that God gave me a tender, loving heart! Now I have tons of faults-can't dodge that at all but as my life moves along-and I am living this battle with Physical Pain each day of my life-God is helping me to use the lessons I learn from the Pain in a positive manner.

Its brought me to a place of compassion that I never dreamed possible and I know, God is right here, in the midst of seeing me react to another human in physical misery-now I stop and LOOK-in the past, my head would have turned away and I would move along, busy with my life.

I lean on God for every second of my life-and I know HE is there for me!

BLessings-sometimes they come in a form that we can't really see as it being a blessing-but to sit here, knowing women all over the country who are thinking about their faith-how it guides them and to me, this is a beautiful moment of sharing.

I thank God for this day and the words that flow from all of us.

My prayers are with you all.martha

Lolita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lolita said...

Blessed be God's words, as we learn, breaking them into digestible pieces. Thank you, D. I printed our lesson and I am taking it home to study it deeply.

I am gonna come back soon

Judi S. Coleman said...

I look forward to studying this when I return from a weekend away with my hubby! What a blessing to find this on your site--thank you for consistently pursuing God in ministry!


Diane Ronzino said...

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on this study.

I hope The Word fills you with strength and encouragement. Just knowing that God knows us via our hearts, maybe gives us the courage to be truly transparent in our blogging and in our daily lives.

God bless you and keep you! Hopefully, you will be back next Thursday!

Lolita said...

I printed our study materials so that I can read it over and over, and reflect in it.

Thank you Di, for leading with our circle BS.

1. My initial reaction to the verse I Samuel 16:7: is my conversion, I was a sinner, deeply buried in mud, but Jesus had chosen to pick up from there.... It is so comforting to me, as I reflect it now, for the first time, with the above verse.... I used to relate to the road to Damascus with Paul. Now, even if I am not chosen to be a Ruler, I could very much be used by God in any service in Church, and He was able to look inside me, not my sins.... Thank you, Lord, for this another perspective about how you saw the inner man in me, not the outer actions.

2. No, definitely not. Jokingly, I don't think a lot would love me (except for my own parents), just by looking at the clay pot..... it has all the chips and cracks... the paint is badly done, meaning I do not look physically appealing.... But some people see the character in me, my heart-capable of love, sensitive to other people's feelings and ready to give respect. I do like to be "the beauty deeper than the skin one."

3. Yes so much.... I am past questioning why there are a lot of scandals in the Bible leading to the birth of Jesus..... it makes me see those Men/Women of Faith to be less than super heroes... I could relate to all of them. They were humans too, as we are.... and yet God found favor in them, used them for His glory, in service to men and His purposes..... like I can be.

2. By following closely the teachings of Jesus. Having time spent in stillness with God, reading the Bible, growing in spirit by interacting with fellow-Christians, encouraging one another, in prayers, sharing.....a heart of gratitude and humility, submitting yourself Holy and pleasing to God, for the purpose He has chosen for us..... then can I become more and more "a people with hearts after God's own Heart." .... A purpose-Driven life.

Thank you, dear God for giving us Diane, to lead us into a closer walk with you. Thank you for your word that we have broken down into chewable portions for us to digest and apply in our life. As we continue being teachable, Lord, we ask you to guide us in every way, lead us and be with us. In Jesus name, Amen.

Lolita said...

Sorry, D. The last No. 2 shoulb be No.4.

Betty said...

good job diane on the bible study...looking forward to next week. Like Lolita idea of printing off then answering. Love Salelady 371 comment of us being in the process of becomeing a woman after God's heart and how our past mistakes do not define us. and they do not stop God was using us either.

Was very encouraged from all the comments. thanks Diane for using your time wisely for the Lord, it will not come back void. Blessings

A Joyful Noise said...

Many years ago, my then teen age son was following me around the house and recording all my chatter and me yelling at my girls. Then he played it back to me. I was embarrased, but I can't remember if it changed me or not. Through the years I have mellowed and most of the time, what you see is what you get. Now thoughts are another subject, and God can see our thoughts. If they are forgiven, he doesn't get to play them back for everyone to here.

Betty said...

Just last week I made a critical judgement on a lady in the James bible study I attend. Being new to the group I was feeling secure. How like our flesh to try find security in being judgemental. Then I compounded the sin by sharing with my friend who is also in the bible study, we both begin to pick the ladies in the bible study apart...goodness I had added to my sin, like David, first he must have looked more then once on Bathsheba then he murdered and then he took her. I have always been facinated that God calls him a man after God's heart. I think God aired the dirty laundry for all of us to see to give us hope. His precious convicting is what brings us back to even wanting a heart that yearns for Him even when we fall into sin. Praise God for his forgiveness and I am thankful this lady did not find out what was buried very shallow in my flesh. Also thank God for the deep deep love of God in my soul. I think of the song, He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need. Blessings

Betty said...

sorry, I meant I was feeling insecure at the bible study...

Diane Ronzino said...

Betty, thank you so much for your transparency and honesty. You are very much a genuine Vessel of Honor unto God.

Thank God He looks beyond all of our faults and sees our needs! What a loving God He is!

Thank you, Betty!