Title: 1 Peter: Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times
Author: Sue Edwards
Publisher: Kregel Publishers
Lesson 1 (pages 10-18): Revel in Your Resources
• This study, as do all Sue Edwards studies, offers three levels to choose froms to fit your lifestyle. As you start this study, how do you plan to use the three levels? Which level are you committing to for the next nine weeks?
I am not focusing much on the three levels that are offered. The goal to which I sense God has led me to, is to complete the study in its entirety. Therefore, the commitment for me is to “press on” in each week’s study. I pray that The Holy Spirit leads me when I study, showing me what the Lord wants me to hear, and then listening for when He says to stop for that day. Having time with Him each day is the overall goal in doing this inductive study.
• Lesson 1 is about preparing for opposition. Our first-century sisters faced hostility and hatred for their faith. Maybe you have, too. Have you ever felt disenfranchised, discriminated against, or mistreated--even a little--for your faith? How did you handle the situation?
Yes, I most certainly have had experiences of such. For one, I am the only born again Christian so far in my family. Being a person who shares what God gives me to say makes me not listened to very well in my extended family. Unfortunately, when pressed to choose who I will follow, I choose Him. I don’t regret my decision, but it did come at a high cost. By His grace alone, even though I’m still shut out of my extended family because of my faith, I’m still His.
I didn’t always handle some situations well. Most times I reacted in my humanness instead of responding as a Christ follower, so I made some relationships harder to mend. As I have become more mature in Christ, I have learned to respond with love and kindness, but not to back down or be ashamed of the God who loved and died for me.
• 1 Peter 1: 3-5 reveals the amazing riches God provides for His children. Which blessing and benefit most touched you as you read these verses? How do those blessings prepare you for whatever trials you may face?
The new birth into a living hope is the gift that put me in awe of Him. Through the last decade of heartaches (3 deaths, rejection, financial hardship, etc...), this has reminded me of what hope is--a living hope; it anchors my heart in Him when the tempest broadsides me.
I may cry, get angry, frustrated and the like, but He speaks such words of hope by reminding me of what will last forever and what will soon pass away. Also, these times come to refine my faith and to make it grow. I have yet to see Him be faithless. It reminds me to keep pressing forward ‘til all is said and done and not to give up before that time.
• This lesson closed with a Living Stone Story. How did you respond to the story? Did you relate to Alice's experience or have your experiences been different? Explain.
Oh, I related quite well. I lost my beloved sister-in-law to cancer in 2000. In May of 2010, I lost my father-in-law due to Parkinson’s after a year of hospice care. In between those two deaths, I lost a friend to breast cancer right after turning 40, leaving behind a husband with three kids to raise.
Up until 2010, I had never seen such suffering and death up close and personal. Before this time, I hadn’t the faith or courage to do so. Yet God had caused me to grow in Him to such a point that I knew I couldn’t do anything without Him. When it came down to it, I had to decide whether I was going to press forward believing He will provide for whatever I needed at that time or quit. I loved my father-in-law like a daughter; he loved me like I was his own. We were very close.
Words fail to express all that I felt, experienced, and suffered during the last decade. Even my words of praise seem to fall so far short of all He did in me, through me and for me. I came out of this time convinced that He is faithful and though I can’t see how or when, I know He will do whatever needs to be done. He will provide. As 2012 begins, after experiencing almost $2000 in unexpected repairs to house and automobile plus having my mother-in-law who has Alzheimer’s live with us, I can’t see past today. Yet this I know for sure and to this truth I cling--He who brought me this far will bring me all the way home!