I'm participating in an online Bible Study through Proverbs 31 ministries. We're diving into the book:
I am pretty excited about this! The description of the book from the Proverbs 31 site reads as follows:
The Bible Study begins on May 25 ... just a few days away and it's not too late to sign up! The book, available on the website of course, is also available in digital format for download via Barnes & Noble for a Nook, and I assume it is available for a Kindle format as well. Since I jumped on this Study a little late, I opted to download a Nook version so I would have the book to start on time. I'll just keep notes in a journal to help me keep track of my thoughts as I go along!
The lead question posed in describing this book (taken from the site) is this:
Is your life limited by labels the world and other people have used to define you?
Labels. The Labeling Theory. This is something I have definitely discussed on a regular basis with my children, girlfriends and the young ladies I have mentored thorugh church. All of us label everything and everyone. It's something so hard to get away from and we often label people without even having a true sense of who or what they are, or, more importantly, we don't know what is truly in their heart.
Labels have always plagued the human race. Won't it be great to realize our full potential by seeing ourselves through God's eyes? I'm assuming the only label He assigns each of us is "My Child" or "Wonderful Masterpiece".
Wow. Can you even begin to imagine putting a t-shirt on every person that reads "Wonderful Masterpiece"? A community of Christ Followers who are able to recognized their worth and truly be happy to own that label rather than, perhaps, being embarrassed by a label given to them in the past.
This Study will introduce me to an online community of individuals whom I have never met and they are seeking the same truths as me. We want to know the grand plan God has for us and we want to own the fact that we are 'fearfully and wonderfully made'.
So, exactly what is "community"? It's a pretty important word when one reads through their Bible. Rarely, does a person work alone for the glory of God. Many passages encourage us to support each other, love each other, work together...so let's look at how I define community.
Descriptive words that come to mind under "community":
- common views
I have been known to point out, on many occasions, that women have a very difficult time with a good understanding of "community". We are quick to acuse, compare, and drag down each other as we proclaim our way as the right way. How naive we can be!
Ephesians 4 gives us instructions for Christian living. It reminds us that when we work well together, the community of Christ believers grows and, though building each other up, we also glorify God. A community of Christ believers is so pleasing to God as he has given each of us unique gifts and talents that we can [and should] share with one another to bring the good to all. Nowhere in Ephesians [or any other chapter in the Good Book] do we read that we should compare.
We are instructed to love, build and encourage. These are qualities that help a community thrive and these instructions can apply to all communities, but most importantly, to the community of Christ & God Believers.
God LOVED us so much that He gave his only Son for forgiveness of our every sin; God BUILDS us up through His Word and faithfulness in each step of our earthly journey; and He certainly ENCOURAGES us to take up our cross and follow Him through every garden and every valley we encounter.
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact your are doing." (1 Thessalonians 5:1)
"But encourage on another daily, as long as it is called 'Today', so that none of you may be hardened by sin's decietfulness." (Hebrews 3:1)
What type of community are you building up today? Who are you encouraging and loving?
God is encouraging each of us to encourage each other...one person at a time...one set of feet moving toward one good direction.
I invite you to join this online Bible Study community at P31 with me and please share what qualities you believe are vital to a thriving community!