This week at our Bible study I was reminded more than ever how much I appreciate the friendships God has blessed me with. You know, when you’re surrounded by children all the time, you sometimes feel like a castle, with a moat all around you. It can be hard to reach outside the moat — yet we need friendships with other women just as much as any time in our lives. Maybe even more than ever.
It’s hard to write about this now, since I’m still in the midst of it, but someday I want to make a special effort to reach out to women with young children. People look at me and think I’m busy and happy raising my little family, and I’m very thankful for this time of life. But my soul is thirsty. In person, I find it very hard to move beyond “small talk.” Yet I crave depth in my friendships.
That’s what I really enjoy about this Bible study. The workbook and DVDs are tools that give us women a reason to get together and cut through the small talk — as soon as our workbooks are open, we’re digging deep, plowing through the jewels of scripture, and sharing our treasures with each other.
Our discussion this week focused on how our culture has changed through the years. In the homework, Beth asked us to write the names of the presidents who have served during our lifetime. (With a little help from Wikipedia), I wrote down:
Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
Gerald Ford (1974-1977)
Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
George Bush, Sr. (1989-1993)
Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
George W. Bush (2001-present)
Beth asked, “In your opinion, has American culture and its mores risen and fallen dramatically under the direct influence of each president?”
This question led to a lively discussion. We tried to steer clear of politics, but we could all definitely see a shift in our culture under certain presidents. But mainly, it’s the little things that change, bit by bit, until suddenly you see a big shift.
Beth explains, “Cultures are stronger than human leaders because they are dictated by masses and cultivated by time” and “they are influenced by unseen powers. Invisible principalities.” As we moved into discussing Babylon as portrayed in Revelation 17, I began to grasp how the powers of evil move behind the scenes — yet our God is going to win the last battle!
One girl in our group talked about how every day she is seeing little things she can do to take a stand for her faith. She mentioned how she was in a Wal-Mart recently and saw a display for a horrible, gruesome movie right next to the kids’ movies! She said, “Before this Bible study, I probably would have just turned away from that image, but instead I decided this was something I didn’t want to let go.” She went and talked to a manager about it! Who knows — if all of us can do something like this, we can take back our culture for good. [Edit: The Wal-Mart manager responded to her request and MOVED that disgusting poster! Victory!]
I shared how a few years ago, a friend of mine was complaining to her husband how graphic the magazine covers are at the checkout counter — especially the tabloids. So her husband talked to the manager of a grocery store in our area (Publix — YEA!), and they now cover these magazines up, so only the top of the magazine shows.
I was surprised to learn that “with the exception of Jerusalem, no other city is mentioned more than Babylon in the Bible.” Babylon is mentioned 290 times! It’s so interesting how the visions of Daniel compare to John’s visions in Revelation. I would never have made those comparisons on my own.
In the video this week, we studied Daniel 7, focusing on how God is called “The Ancient of Days.” Isn’t this scripture incredible:
As I looked, thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
and the books were opened.
(Daniel 7:9-10 New International Version)
I love these verses! They give me a concrete image I can share with my children when they ask me questions about God.
Do you know how many questions a 4-year-old can ask about God in a single day? Now when my son asks, “What does God look like?” I can say, “I don’t know for sure, but let me read to you what Daniel saw in a dream about God. Here’s what He looked like to Daniel.”
As a mom, I need my faith to be built so that I know what I believe, and I can pass this along to my children. It’s truly a privilege to be entrusted with the care of raising up children in my faith. There is no greater joy on earth!