If you're just deciding to join us, you'll need your Bible, the book The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs, and maybe a journal. Sometimes I use index cards when I study to help me remember specific verses as well. Honestly, the method you use and the specific tools you utilize aren't specifically important as long as you are reading scripture. We all probably have or will develop methods that work best for us.
Just briefly I want to say that I know several women who are taking this journey, and I'm so excited! Ladies I've known from every stage of my life are joining together to study this time! Typically I am blessed to be able to study with women from my church and community here in Kansas City, but this time I get to interact with friends from high school, my niece and niece-in-law in Texas, a sweet friend I once taught in Sunday School when she was in college, and my best friend from Atlanta! God is so creative and brilliant to baptize technology and use it to help us connect through His Word!
And oh how I'm praying specifically for you all! Prayer is sort of the main way I feel God uses me at this stage of my life. As a stay at home mom, I honestly spend so much time during my day praying for friends and family as I complete the necessary but sometimes mundane tasks of keeping a home together. So...please let me know if you're joining us so I can visualize you and pray specifically for you...by name! It's my sheer joy and gives me a sense of usefulness in His Kingdom.
Enough talk! Let's go! Here are my suggestions for what and how to study this week.
1. Pray first each time you sit down to study. I often even write brief prayers right in my book or journal like this...absolutely nothing fancy!
2. This week we will study about Elizabeth. Before you read the book, please take time to read The Book! As much as I'm loving The Women of Christmas, I want us to study God's words. So read Luke 1:5-25 and write down any thoughts or questions you have as you read. I'd suggest reading the same passage everyday this week in different translations. I use the YouVersion app on my phone to read those translations I don't actually own in paper form.
3. Read chapters 1 and 2 of the Women of Christmas throughout the week. They actually are short, and you have 7 days to do it! Liz Curtis Higgs writes in a way that interacts with the scriptural text and helps me ask deep questions. Write in that book, underline, do whatever it takes to help you really engage in the text!
4. Interact with us! As you study, I really would love it if you would talk back on this blog. Comment on one or all of these questions. If, for some reason,you have trouble commenting please send me a Facebook message with your comments and I will post them to the blog with your permission. Of course you can always message me privately with anything meant for just me and you and I won't post it!
So answer these questions:
Was there anything in the biblical story you had never thought about before? Did God highlight any part of it afresh for you?
Can you relate to Elizabeth or Zechariah in any way? Is God encouraging or challenging you in any way through this story? Are these words reiterating anything God's already been trying to communicate to you?
What does this story tell you about the character of God or how He works?
5. Join me in memorizing this part of the passage this week from verses 24 and 25: "...Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” (NIV)
6. Make a list of the miraculous things The Lord has done and is doing for you!
I'm praying for God to reveal His constant presence to you this week and to make you desparate for His Word! I'm praying you get just a little seclusion with Him like Elizabeth had...and that you can joyfully say, "The Lord has done this for me" as you go through this week!
Feel free to invite a friend to join us!