Online Bible Study: Week Seven (Chapters 13 & 14)

Welcome to week seven in the study of Priscilla Shirer’s Discerning the Voice of God.  I applaud you all for sticking with us this summer as we read through her book together.  I know you’re busy; I know you have a million other things vying for attention.  And yet, you have set aside time for this book and I am praying for God’s blessings for you as a result.

If I can give one piece of encouragement, it’s don’t give up!  Don’t leave the book half-read or this study partly done.  If you’ve fallen behind, please jump back in as you are able because I don’t want you to miss some of these great chapters at the end.  You can comment on any older post as you catch up on the reading.

My Thoughts:

“Hello. Thank you for calling heaven, where your eternal destiny is secure.  Our menu options have recently changed . Please listen closely to all of the options before making a selection.

Para Espanol, por favor pulse dos.

Please speak or press your 10-digit salvation account number.

Thank you!  Did you know that you can access God’s perspective on many things at any time from the comfort of your own home?  Your heavenly user guide or Bible is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

To check your good deeds account, please press one.
To request forgiveness, please press two.
For automated guidance about your account questions, please press three.
For doctrinal information, please press four.
For help with health, finances, and relationships, please press five.
For all other prayer requests, please press six.

If this is an emergency, please hang up and call your pastor.

To repeat this menu, please press zero.  If you would like to speak to a customer representative, please press nine now.

All of our customer representatives are currently busy.  Due to abnormally large call volume, your wait may be delayed.  Please hang on the line and we’ll be with you shortly.

Elevator music.  Cheerful ads.  More music to which you drum your fingers.  The doodles on your paper have now progressed from swirls and cubes to intricate designs and flowers.

We’re sorry.  All of our customer representatives are currently busy.  Please hang on the line and we’ll be with you shortly.”

I’ve been on hold with companies a lot lately and the routine is the same with each call.  Press buttons.  Answer questions.  Listen to annoying music and assurances that they will be with you as quickly as possible.

Priscilla Shirer writes this week that God’s “entire goal, since the beginning of time, is to have a personal, intimate, loving fellowship between the two of you.”  That means that He longs for us to commune with Him all the time about everything we’re facing and He responds to us both by listening and answering with love and grace.

He isn’t putting us on hold.  He isn’t creating go-betweens to filter out calls until we really prove we need to talk to the Supervisor on Duty.  He wants to spend time in relationship with us both in the times that we experience joy and the moments we feel pain and He’s always listening as we cry out to Him.

All that we experience is subject for prayer.  In her study on Daniel, Beth Moore notes that Paul encourages us to pray and give thanks “in every situation” (Philippians 4:6).  We’re compartmentalizers some times.  We think, this I can handle, but this I can’t so I’ll pray about it  This I can think through, but this I’m lost on so I’ll pray about it.  This is too small to pray about, but this is big enough to mention in the Sunday School prayer time. This the doctor will answer, but this I’m going to have to leave to God.

There’s not some stuff that fits into a God category and other stuff that doesn’t.  In the sorting bins of our needs, emotions, and thoughts, there’s just one basket and it’s got a big fat label on it marked “God’s.”  Praise God that He is responsive, loving, gracious, and accessible.

Chapter Outlines:

Chapter 13: A Fatherly Voice

  • God has a personal message for us and we cannot assume that He has the same plan for others that He has for us.  Obviously, on basic doctrinal issues, on the matters of sin that His Word clearly addresses, the standard is consistent.  But, on questions of personal choices–who to marry, where to work, whether to work or stay home, and more, we must remember that we “run the risk of becoming legalistic and placing other believers in bondage” if we believe what God has told us applies to everyone (p. 153).
  • God’s voice may be convicting, but it is not condemning.  He doesn’t harp on your sins of the past.  “He desires to bring healing and restoration by forgiving my sin and throwing it into the sea of forgetfulness” (p. 155).

Chapter 14: A Challenging Voice

  • God isn’t always talking about how to make us feel comfortable.  In fact, He’s pretty frequently asking us to step out of comfort and into faith.
  • The quote from Oswald Chambers on p. 163 is pretty challenging: “Have you ever heard the Master say something very difficult for you? If you haven’t, I question whether you have ever heard Him say anything at all.”
  • We may feel ill-equipped for the task God has called us to, but “it is through your inability that He reveals His power” (p. 164).

Your Thoughts:

  • What were your favorite, quotes, passages or Scriptures from these two chapters?
  • Have you ever made a choice that you knew was God’s will for you, but also knew it wasn’t God’s will for everyone?
  • Do you ever struggle with feelings of condemnation versus conviction?  Is it easy for you to accept Christ’s forgiveness and move on or are you sometimes trapped by guilt?
  • When has God called you out of comfortable and into faith?  What has God taught you in those situations where He asked you to do something that was beyond your natural ability, experience, training, gifting, etc.?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

8 thoughts on “Online Bible Study: Week Seven (Chapters 13 & 14)

  1. Michelle Betts Girard says:

    I loved when she said “There is a difference between God’s convicting voice and the Enemy’s condemning voice.

    After I read that I spent an entire day singing “Forgiven and Loved” by Jimmy Needham.

    Right now I feel God is telling me no to wait. That is the hardest thing for me. Waiting. I don’t do waiting well.

    • Marie Auker says:

      Do we really have to talk about waiting again this week!

      That was one of my favorite sections too about the convicting voice vs. the condemning voice. I think we all feel condemned sometimes. We’re forgiven as far as the east is from the west. From what I can tell, that’s pretty far. I also saw it in light of my kids. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve probably condemned them instead of convicted them. I always try the convicting route first. However, I quickly move into the condemning mode if that doesn’t work. Ouch! Talk about becoming the voice of Satan!

      Isaiah 43:25 is the next verse I’m going to memorize. I-yes, I alone-am the one who blots out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.

      I also related to the point on p. 167 where she was talking about being hesitant to hear what God had to say because of the challenge it might bring. She listed a lot of “what ifs” that God might say. I went through a time that I definately had to work through that. There are still times I have to work through that one.

  2. Heather C. King says:

    Oooh, thanks for sharing the song. That was a powerful quote for me this week, too. Being a performance person and a people-pleaser, it’s easy to let conviction quickly turn into self-condemnation. It’s hard for me to really get that God loves me despite sin, that forgiven means He’s totally washed me clean. It’s easy to talk about intellectually and explain doctrinally, but so hard to really feel and live in that freedom.

  3. Janis Hedgepeth says:

    “When we know that God is requiring us to do a certain thing, it can be easy for us to assume that He must be requiring everyone else to do the same thing. If we think this way, we run the risk of becoming legalistic and placing other believers in bondage.”

    I have had a hard time with this one. My son and I have gone round and round about the consumption of beer and alcohol. When I became a Christian, I was convicted that this was wrong. I believe that this is God’s will for me. My son does not share my conviction and I have had to learn to let God be the one to convict him if this is His will for him. It’s not easy as a mother to watch your child indulge in something you feel is so wrong, but I know that it’s not my place to condemn. I had to learn that one the hard way.

    “For instance, if I miss my quiet time and begin to feel guilty, I recognize this isn’t the voice of the Lord that I’m hearing. God desires for me to know Him and spend time with Him. But His way of wooing me back to Him is to fill me with a homesick longing to come to Him out of love and affection.”

    I have often felt guilty about missing my quiet time with God. I’m not trying to justify missing my quiet time, but I like her description of God “wooing me back to Him” rather than condemning me.

    I also liked how she described God’s Fatherliness and how loving and caring He is.

    • Marie Auker says:

      My son and I have gone through some right vs. wrong discussions lately. Of course he’s turning 17 in 4 days,so he knows everything right now! I sometimes have a hard time discerning where the line is between, “Because I’m the mom and I say so” and letting God do the convicting.

  4. Michelle Girard says:

    Like Janis I have been thinking about the part where she said “When we know that God is requiring us to do a certain thing, it can be easy for us to assume that He must be requiring everyone else to do the same thing. If we think this way, we run the risk of becoming legalistic and placing other believers in bondage.”

    I think that it is hard to not see the things God has said is best for us as what is best for everyone.

    It took me along time to understand why some people could read a verse and get “you should never” and others could read the same verse and get “not to excess”. Finally I came to understand that it is all because of the leading of the Holy Spirit and what God feels is best for that individual person.

    Just like the doctor might tell me I should lose 20 pounds and watch my salt intake she might tell someone else they need to gain 10 pounds and not even mention salt.If I try to tell them they should lose weight instead I am putting what is best for me on them and could endanger their health. If we try to force our convictions on others on them we can become a stumbling block and endanger their spiritual health.

    It is a fine line between wanting to help people to grow and disciple them in the way to live a Christian life and being judgemental. I think I miss that line many times and tend to think my choices are the best choices.

    Of course there are issues that are cut and dried but so many aren’t. Public School or Home school, Dresses or pants, Hymns or Contemporary music, R-Rated movie or not, drink or not to drink, Work or Stay home, Does our Tithe have to be 10%, Should a church have Children’s Church or should the kids stay in “big Church” so many many issues that Christians don’t agree on. It is so hard for me not to think that my answers to these questions are the right answer but in most cases I have come to understand that what is best for me may not be best for others.

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