Welcome to One in a Million Bible study!

Welcome to a journey with God. I pray that God challenges you in your spiritual walk. May you respond to the things that HE desires of you!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Week 2

Hi Ladies! Here are the week two questions. Please remember to put your name on your post so we know who is posting. Your posts were incredible last week, and allowed me to get to know each of you on a different level. Thank you for your openness and honesty. Here we go.....

1. "The journey will NOT be easy. It WILL test your faith, stretch your belief system, and challenge your level of commitment- but onward we must go. Is it worth the difficult journey? Why?

2. God often taks us through the wilderness journey so that we can "experience HIM". What does it mean to "experience" God?

3. How do we continue on the journey when we see the "Etham" that lay before us?

4. How have we become accustomed to wanting "comfort" as our goal in life? Does God promise that for us?

5. What do we do when God doesn't answer our questions of "Why?". How do we continue on the journey?

6. Do you have a $500.00 story? If so, please share it with us.

7. Pg. 43 "By asking the people to remember their trek with the Lord, Moses encouraged the Israelites to "value their wilderness experience". How do we place "value" on a hard journey?

8. "Obeying is easy when it makes sense and when milk and honey are flowing all around us, but the true test of our commitment is best seen when there is no refreshment in sight, just dry wasteland." How do we obey even when we can't see the fulfillment or provisions of God? How do we have the right attitude?

9. Are you experiencing any "Elims" in your life right now? (p.53) How does God provide refreshment in the midst of the hard journey?

10. What's your favorite quote or "AaHa" moment from this week?


  1. 1. It is totally worth the journey! You grow & gain so much in the long run. God refines us to become more like His image. This is what we’re called to do.
    2. I think ‘experiencing’ God is when He becomes real to us in a very deep personal way as we walk through circumstances with Him. Experiencing His grace and love has been transformational in my life. It just changes how I see the world and people around me.
    3. There is hope for us even in the ‘Etham’ times, because we live in hope as believers, knowing God will provide for us and be with us in the journey as we walk that road.He doesn’t leave us to go alone. And the journey with Him brings many rewards along the way.
    4. Everything around us tells us we need comfort, instantly. Whether it’s buying the latest greatest gadget to make us happy or having the best looking ‘stuff’, our society sells the message that we deserve it and are entitled to the stuff that brings comfort. We are not promised that from God. In fact, many times He wants us to be uncomfortable so we are aware of our need for Him and the need to serve others and share what we have.
    5. When God doesn’t answer our ‘why’s’ we have to continue to have faith and believe as the word tells us: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.”-Heb.11:1
    Michelle- other posts coming next

  2. 6. The story I thought of when I read about the $500 story was the summer we moved to Arkansas in 2004. I had come down earlier that spring to put in applications at local school districts in hopes for a job when we moved in July of that summer. Chris had accepted the job at JBU and I still had no idea what I’d be doing. We trusted that God would lead us to the right job for me. We literally had just driven into town and landed at the JBU student center when Chris’s cell phone rings. On the other end of the line was this lovely Southern accent asking for Michelle Confer. It was Kim Simco from Harp Elementary calling to ask if I could interview for the music position at Harp that week. WOW! I was amazed! And how did they get this number when my resume had our Indiana home phone listed? Well, come to find out Chris had the telephone company forward all calls from the old line to his cell number, so this is how it happened. The next few days when I prepared to interview, I had no idea what to wear. All my clothes were packed away in the moving truck so I had to get creative and borrow clothes from my sister Sarah in Fayetteville. I remember picking out this pretty red button-up dress shirt and a black long skirt, hoping that would work. The next day as I show up to interview (and was BLOWN AWAY by the beautiful school building!) the first person I met was Kim Simco. She was as sweet as ever! Her accent just cracked me up but really made me feel right at home also. She took me on a tour of the school and immediately commented on how perfect my outfit was. She said, “Did you know our school colors were red and black?” I just laughed inside and knew right away, this was a total GOD THING!!!! Talking with Mrs. Knapp and Mrs. Simco, learning about the school, it just totally felt right and I guess they felt good about it too. I’ve been happy and blessed as a Harp Hawk for six years now.
    7. I think the value on a hard journey comes when we can look back and see how God has used other times in our journey where he was faithful and brought us through. This can give us confidence to keep going on the current journey and not lose hope.
    8. Lots of songs and quotes come to mind here…I think this is a quote from C.S. Lewis from Narnia that states: “He is not safe, but He is good.” (in speaking about Aslin) God allows painful things to happen and we don’t always get it. But we can trust he is good. And there’s a Sara Groves song that talks about..’What I thought I wanted and what I got instead leaves me broken, yet grateful’- great song. Or another favorite by Selah… “Places where grace is, soon to be so amazing. Maybe unfulfilled, and maybe unrestored, but when anything that’s shattered is laid before the Lord, just watch and pray it will not be unredeemed.” God redeems those pains and dry times, He is always faithful. Even when we can’t trace His hand, we can trust His heart. He is good!
    10. There were lots of great quotes from this week, two stick out: “When lifted against the backdrop of our own standards, thoughts, and expectations, the road God chooses for us is often not the road we might expect.” P.34 “The wilderness is designed to reveal whether we really want God or if we just want to “get out of town” and to Canaan as soon as possible.”p.45

  3. 1.Sometimes when we see the journey that God is giving us glimpses of we can actually "tremble" inside. It's not necessarily a journey that we desire to go on. However, we know that we must go in order to get to the places that God desires of us. I think remembering that God gives us places of refreshment along the way also helps us to keep walking! The end result of the journey has to be worth it.

    2. Experiencing God. To me it means knowing God on a more intimate level. Having him guide your every step. Knowing that he is right there with you through each difficult journey. He shows you things that you never knew or thought you would experience. Often times, it's things and insights that no one else would understand, but it's something that you KNOW is from God without a doubt. I've always heard you can have as much of God that you want, and that's what I want...more and more of God!

    3. I think we have to decide if we trust that God KNOWS what he is doing. He will never give us more than we can bear. So, we have to decide if God is going to be the LORD (BIG L of our life). Which to me means that I am letting him handle every area not just the ones that I think he can control. Or will he be lord(little l) of my life. I control the things that I want, and give him the other things. He's either Lord over everything or over nothing. We have to decide...we can compartmentalize God.

    4. I think so much of our society has become accustomed to being comfortable. I have to have the nice house, the nice car, the nice family, etc. Everything has to be "comfortable". If we aren't comfortable, then we feel like we are missing out or God is with-holding. God never promises comfort. He promises us the things we need for today. We have become stingy and self indulgent as a society. We don't give to others or care for others as we have been commanded. I see this even happening in the church. We feed people one time of year and that's good enough. No, God says to care for the motherless and the widows on a continual basis, not just when it's convenient or when we're reminded. We are so comfortable in our places, that we forget to look and see who is not in comfort.

    5. Life is hard, and we are never guaranteed the answers. I know that there are so many things happening to people that I care deeply about that have no logical answers. I know I've prayed and asked God why these things happen, and there's no answers. However, even in the questions, we have to continue to trust in our God who is bigger than anything. Pain hurts and while it is painful, I do know in those moments that God draws us closer to himself. I remember times where I was just distraught over circumstances in my life. I was just broken and hurt and disappointed that God had not stepped in wher I thought he needed to. Now that I'm months and years past those situations, I can see God drawing me closer and closer to him. I can see where he got the glory from the situation. We have to trust God's wisdom even when we have no answers.....

    6. God has supplied so many times for me. The time that comes to mind first is when I was going on my first mission trip. I found out about the trip 3 weeks before we were to leave. God completely supplied all the money that I would need for that trip within 2 weeks. It was amazing!!! God showed me then that he is more than able to supply whatever need I have!

  4. 7. I think we have to look at the things we've learned on the journey. I know I always remind my friends to ask themselves what they are learning from the journey. This way you don't always focus on what is hard, but you see the good that also come from the walk with God. What is God teaching you???

    8. This has been a huge lesson for me while being married. I've had to learn to trust the journey that we are on. Especially when my husband has said that God had told him this or that. I have to trust that God is directing us even when the journey doesn't make sense or fit into my plan. God has really called James and I do to some things completely out of my comfort zone. I can't say it's been easy each time- nor is it still easy to understand why we had to do this one thing, but God has a reason. We just pray that one day we will see the benefits of our obedience. I do know that obedience is key to experiencing God. We have to obey when he calls....

    9.There are always ways that God refreshes us on the journey. Such as being reminded of the ministry that God has set before me, and why it is important to continue on the journey. This is always the fruit of my labors!

    10. I loved the reminder of Ps.23:3 "He leads me along the "right" paths for HIS name sake." God always takes us on the path that is right. It may not look "right" to me, but if it's a path that God is leading me on, then it is the RIGHT way. "He will never lead you intoa place that will not work toward accomplishing His purposes for you."

    Christi :)

  5. 1. The journey is worth it ultimately because we were created to be in
    that Promised Land, spending our days in worship of Him. Unfortunately, the journey there...this life...it is long and hard. We
    wander and wonder where God is and why He is leading us this way. In the end though, we get to reach that Promised Land, to bask in His glory.
    2. Experiencing God is to truly know Him and who He is. We can talk about God, read about Him, etc. But to really experience Him, we have to walk with Him daily, to actively seek out who He is in our lives.
    We have to let the Holy Spirit loose in our lives to fully experience who He is.
    3. Oh, my. I find myself empathizing with the people of Israel. I will be the first to admit I would have been standing there near Etham wondering what on earth God was doing. For me, the biggest part of getting through that journey is knowing that God is faithful. He keeps His promises. And if He promised me a land beyond Etham, I have to believe He will get me there one way or another!
    4. I have yet to find any verses that promise us comfort in our lives. The first person I think of is Paul who had anything but comfort in His life. Yet he continued to follow Christ. Not just follow but follow with a passion! I think we, especially in America, long for that comfortable life. We think we deserve it. We feel...comfortable there. I know I do. It is not easy to want to leave that comfort zone to follow Him, even if we know He is the ultimate Comforter!
    5. I am a "why" girl. I ask Him all of the time...why? I rarely get my answer. Sometimes they do come later but more often than not they don't come at all. Yet I have to believe that God is bigger than those questions. He is all knowing (where I am not) and He sees a much bigger picture than I do. He knows why. And as He has proven over and over in my walk with Him, faith is following Him even when I don't know why.

  6. 6. I have been thinking and thinking about this one. I think my life is full of those stories (though not always answers of money) but I cannot think of a certain one to share. I do know that both of our adoptions (to me) were God's provision and His perfect timing (even when it didn't feel like it). For whatever reason, we were able to bring Maria home after a year (which felt like an eternity) even though shortly afterwards the adoption agency we were using just crumbled. And our son came home to us a week before Christmas 2007; the adoption process changed drastically a few weeks later in Guatemala (basically shutting down to new ones) and unfortunately we still are praying for adoptions friends started when we did. (Another time we say, "Why?")

    7. I don't know that I always value that journey in the wilderness WHILE I am there but later I look back and I can see where God was building me up. When we first got married, we were poor. Very poor. I was teaching at a private school and between the two of us...well, we had a lot of debt. Yet we learned so much about God and ourselves through that process. We also learned about God's way for managing money, something I don't know we would have actively sought had we been more comfortable. The adoption process...oh, what a journey that was! That is when I started blogging. I read those entries and remember how painful that wandering in the wilderness was. Yet I learned so much about God's faithfulness through it.

    8. Obeying is tough, having the right attitude is even tougher! Yet we are called to do that no matter what. It isn't easy. And when we are facing a wasteland, it is easy to want to walk away or show out (as my children do on occasion). But God calls us to do what is right, even when it is not fun or easy. After all, I preach that to my own children and my students all of the time! (well, with students I don't mention the God part but I try to teach them that character is what you do even when nobody sees you!)

    9. To me, God provides refreshment in unexpected ways. I have to admit, though I am not looking forward to the extended school year, these snow days have been refreshment to me, giving me time to slow down and truly appreciate who God is and what He has created.

    10. I had so many "aha" moments, but one of the biggest for me was realizing that the people of Israel were not wandering in a desert. They were in the wilderness. In my mind, I have always just pictures a lot of sand. I should know by now that God gives us more than that...He has proven that over and over!

  7. 1. I have definitely learned that life is not easy. The journey is still worth it- because if we don't continue on towards a closer relationship with God, where would we be going? It certainly wouldn't change what has happened in our lives- it would only give us nothing to hang on to.
    2. I think experiencing God means getting to know Him on a deeper level- like Job said, not just hearing about Him, but truly seeing Him. It means truly sensing the Holy Spirit's direction in our lives.
    3. I've had lots of circumstances lately where I've been in Etham. I am thinking specifically about the moment when we knew we were going to have to make a decision about removing Hannah from life support. I think we keep going because we know that God will somehow get us through it. I can also say that I am thankful that God lets us camp at Etham sometimes- it can be easier to deal with things when we are not suddenly caught off guard.
    4. God has never promised comfort- but we seem to fall into the trap of thinking that bad things usually don't happen to good people. Our human nature equates obedience with comfort, but we know this isn't the case with God.
    5. Wow- this is right where I am now. I'm just trying to deal with the fact that we may never know "why"- God may use circumstances to bring about good things, but we still don't fully understand. I just have to keep going because I know that God has a plan for my life that is better than my own.
    6. See my caringbridge site for about a million "$500 moments". One from years ago was when James had a fender-bender that costs about $500 to repair, then I had a fender-bender in his car right on the same spot... another $500. We were still in college and VERY poor- about a week later, James' great uncle and aunt sent us a check for $1000 with a note that said they felt God impressing on them that we needed help!
    7. I am still trying to place value on my journey- some days I can find very little. But experiencing God in a much deeper way has already been so valuable to me.
    8. It can be very difficult to obey and have the right attitude. I am thankful that I have been able to avoid a lot of anger and bitterness at God- I think this is key. It's natural to have these emotions when the proverbial rug is pulled out from under us, but we have to dig deep to find that faith that we said we had before. Many scriptures and songs have ministered to me. I will be the first to admit I don't always have the right attitude!
    9. I think it is hard for me to see an "Elim" right now- I very much feel like I am in a desert, so I'm thankful that this study has reminded me that I'm not- I'm in the wildnerness, which is not fun either, but I know the "Elims" are there.
    10. I love this whole chapter- I dog-eared this one to death when I read it while we were at ACH. I love the part when she talks about how it's ok to question God. "Thankfully, God always listens to our questions, even though sometimes He doesn't respond to them in the way we'd like. Instead, He cups our faces tenderly in His hands and whispers, "Follow Me."

  8. 1. Yes it's worth it. It will bring us closer to God and in closer fellowship with Him. I just need to remember this while I'm on the journey.

    2. To not only "know" the right answers about Him, "learn" about Him or "hear" about him but to experience Him in every sense of the word. Hard to describe. :)

    3. Our personal Etham would be trying three years to have a baby and then a few months after we find out we will, Cody loses his job. It sure does look like it will be dry time ahead but we have to continue on our journey and try to find out what God is teaching us and seek His will.

    5. We might not ever know the answer to why something happened to us but I don't need to know why. I know He has our best interest at heart. I just want draw closer to God and learn what He wants us to learn.

    7. We can learn from past journeys and hopefully see the good that came from those.

    8. It is hard to obey but sometimes in those situations it is the only thing we can do. We can trust that God is looking out for us and knows what is best.

    9. My "Elim" moments or moments of refreshment right now is the time Cody and I are getting to spend together. I know there might not ever be a time like this again for a long time so I'm trying to be refreshed by it instead of worrying about the situation. :)

  9. 1.It is worth the commitment…absolutely! Every trial I’ve faced though painful at the time has taught me something about me and my faith. I’ve already been challenged in two weeks, I can’t even imagine what God has for us all.
    2. In my wilderness journey, for me to experience God meant learning what he wanted me to learn during that trial/wilderness. Did I learn it all? I’m not sure but I learned so much and experienced God more than I have ever and the mountaintop was amazing!!!
    3. I think we can continue the journey that lay before us with our co-travelers helping us…that is what our relationships here on earth are for and we also continue because hopefully we are trusting God to lead us…or learning to trust him
    4. Well, when life is going right along with no issues we get in our comfort zone and don’t always realize that we are there, but just expect it to be that way every day. God does not promise that for us…there will be trials!
    5. Wow, that is hard. I know the “church” answer is to trust that he is in control but I don’t know about you but that is flippin hard at times. I am very impatient and want to know why now!!! I learned that sometimes we just don’t get to know that…he sometimes reveals that to us but we are not always guaranteed an answer to that question immediately. We continue on the journey one step at a time…trusting that HE KNOWS BEST>
    6. Several years ago at FBC Springdale, Pastor Floyd taught on the prayer of a simple figure in the bible that I had NEVER heard of…Jabez! Well, I’ll keep this as short as I can but the main point was that Jabez prayed a prayer of blessing over himself. I had never heard that we could do that. During that summer I experienced several “jabez” moments as I like to refer to them. I had been working for a man, who was having financial trouble and I knew I needed to step aside. Well…I prayed about it and felt God leading me to do that so I did. Several weeks into my “departure” I was needing affirmation that I had done the right thing. Daily I would get up and head to the library (before I had a home computer) to look for jobs. On my daily ritual one day, I prayed that God would really show me that I had done the right thing. As I left for the library that day I stopped to get my mail first. Low and behold…a check for I think close to *$800…enough to cover rent and some other necessities. God is so good!!! I have never found out who gave me that money…but God showed himself faithful!!! He is my provider!!! He is our provider and no matter what we need….he provides it friends!!! Trust him today for that need!!!
    7. I think we have to stop and think about where we have been and what we learned…the lessons are where the value comes from for me.
    8. I think the only way for me to obey is to know that is just what I have to do for God…in my own flesh and strength I couldn’t but with his help I can.
    9. God always seems to provide encouragement for me from a friend at just the right time or a scripture that speaks to me right when I need it and I’m so grateful for that. I think for me right now I am ready for my Elim…I need some refreshment right now in my life and I do pray it comes soon.


  10. 1. The journey is definitely worth it because I know what waits at the end. When God has promised something you can bet the stretching will be worth it because He gives good gifts and most importantly He gives Himself!

    2. I think the story of Job illustrates this best. He knew about God. But until he went through his trials in life he had never really seen Him. I think that is my testimony from the wilderness. I knew about you God… but I hadn’t really seen you for myself until now.

    3. You can’t focus on the “Etham” you have to focus on the cloud/fire (God). It’s all about where we are fixating. If we stay on the “why am I here?” “why is this happening?” we will stay miserable! There is a place to question the wilderness… but you don’t live there. :O)

    4. I think the world we live in is especially dangerous for this kind of thinking. We were never promised comfort. We are promised HIM and He always, always lives up to that promise!

    5. You just keep walking. I’ve got a big unanswered why in my life that may stay a “why” for all I know but I trust that He knows better… at least I trust that today! (Honesty… ladies)… But you can’t stop your life and sit down until he answers. Keep moving. Keep hoping. Keep following. Keep trusting. Keep walking. Sorry I had a Dory moment (Finding Nemo) Just keep swimming…. :O)

    7. Telling and retelling the stories of God’s faithfulness is what continues to remind us of God’s faithfulness and gives other’s the confidence that God comes through. When you think about it we are still getting the value from the Israelites hard journey so many thousands of years ago.

    8. Having the right attitude can be a challenge. But I think it comes back to staying plugged into God’s word and having people around you that will check you on your attitude. You can go bitter quickly if you aren’t careful and a good friend will call you on it!

    9. I can’t say that I am at an Elim right now. But usually for me it comes in the refreshment of great friends and family or some surprise from God through His people and Word. He is faithful to provide before I get to my end in the wilderness!

    10. My big quote for the week: “The wilderness, designed to foster humility, presented hardships that revealed the hidden motives and objectives of their hearts.”

    Hey I'm a day earlier this week! Maybe by the end I'll be on time. :O)
    Y'all I could use some prayers that I figure my school/work/life schedule out because right now it's eating my lunch for the first time in 6 years!

  11. 1 - When I enjoy the peace of enduring the journey with God, only then do I realize the "worth" of the journey.
    2 - "Experiencing God" is experiencing this life the way it was designed. The pieces fit and the yoke becomes easier.
    3 - By faith and through the comfort of the Holy Spirit are the only ways to face our "Ehtams". The truth is that our "Etham" will still be there with or without a Holy perspective. It is the Holiness that makes it bearable and even sometimes entertaining.
    4 - Our world tries at all angles to make life "comfortable" so much so that we come to expect it. This was not God's offer to us.
    5 - He may not answer our questions, but he builds our relationship in the process. I don't understand my children, but I continue to seek to know them and they seek to know me. We only do this by time and effort and being intentional about the importance of our relationship. I try to do the same with God. I try not to beg why and just try to move in closer to better understand who He is. I am not always successful.
    6 - It isn't $500, but probably totals alot more. Week after week when Steve was in seminary...the Lord provided. We had NOTHING and not only did the Lord provide for our needs, we had much sweet fellowship with friends who had nothing too :)
    7 - TO find value in a hard journey...I look at "sweat equity". Even when it has been tough, I can always find many blessings along the way when I use the perspective of the spirit within.
    8 - Sooo hard. We just keep trudging on. Again, we know we really do not have a choice but to move forward. In my experience, God always provides those "reasons to live". Those people and events that keep it from being more than we can bear.
    9 - Moments of gratitude and blessing are all around me all the time. I have to look outside of myself. My family, our nutty dog, and my job are all blessings that I should not take for granted.
    10 - When I am wondering in the wilderness, I am at the middle of my journey. To keep going, start a journal of $500 moments.