Did you enjoy launch week for Play With Fire with our enthusiastic and spicy teacher, Bianca Juárez Olthoff? I love how passionate Bianca is about Scripture, helping us deepen our relationship with the Lord, and being refined and changed from the inside out during fire-y seasons.
Plans to Prosper You and Not Harm You
Have you ever been in a fire and prayed, God, do You see how hard this is? I don’t see how any good can come of this? It’s too much. I’m scared. I’m at the end of my rope and I don’t have any fight left in me. I’m exhausted and overwhelmed. You’ve got to help me.
Have you ever been in a season of sheer desperation?
This week we’re in session two, “Surrender.”
- If you’re just starting, don’t worry — you’ll have time to catch up.
- If you missed the kickoff, you can watch it right here.
- Watch the video for Week 2 – either on DVD or right here on FaithGateway.
- If you’re meeting with a small group or in a church setting with others, go through the discussion questions for Chapter 2 in your Play With Fire Study Guide (pages 48-56).
- For your personal study this week, go through the between-sessions personal study in the Play With Fire Study Guide (pages 57-85). Try to set aside 15-30 minutes every day for Bible study. You can do this!
- Recommended (but optional) reading for this week: Read Play With Fire – the book, not study guide.
- Join us Thursday October 20th (optional) for a live chat to discuss this week’s study with our awesome community of believers at 2 pm EST and 9 pm EST.
And lastly for this week, I want to encourage you to take your doubts and insecurities straight to God who is waiting to hear from you! You can cry out to Him, “God, where are You? Answer me, God!” He will hear you. And, He loves our prayers of surrender.
What’s Your Burning Bush?
There is a sermon illustration that I’ve never been able to forget:
The Monkey Trap: You’ve Got to Let Go
Someone once unknowingly built the perfect monkey trap. Its design was simple as can be — just a heavy, metal, spring-loaded cage. The old hunter in our story set a perfect, yellow banana inside the cage way at the back for a hungry monkey to step into the cage which would then snap shut trapping the little monkey. He set the bait and then he walked away and waited.
When a monkey came along and saw her favorite meal, she smelled danger, so she didn’t step into the cage. She sat at the front of the cage and thought and thought. How could she get the banana and not go into the cage? Finally, she went around to the back and reached one small paw through the bars and grabbed the banana. Victory! But, suddenly, she realized she was stuck! She couldn’t get her paw out! In sheer desperation, she fought and wrestled and cried out violently yanking her paw trying to get it through the bars, but she couldn’t. She was trapped. No matter how hard she fought, the monkey couldn’t be freed… unless she let go of the banana.
When the old hunter arrived, he was stunned to find a very mad, scared, exhausted monkey clutching fruit with the heavy cage bars on her wrist. He laughed at the silly monkey who thought she could outsmart the trap and he decided to try an experiment.
The hunter set another perfect, yellow banana down on the ground just out of reach of the monkey. It, and freedom, were hers… If only she would let go of her first prize.
What do you need to let go of in order to find and follow God’s perfect plan for you?
This week we’re studying Moses. Moses who was born a slave. Moses who was rescued from slaughter. Moses who grew up in wealth and luxury in the palace of Pharaoh. Moses who killed an Egyptian. Moses who ran into the desert. Moses who married Zipporah. Moses who tended sheep in the desert for years until God met him in the burning bush. Moses who took off his shoes because he was in the presence of the Almighty which made it unexpected holy ground.
… And the Moses who had to let go of the life which had taught him to feel safe in order to become Moses, the leader of the Israelites.
In the process of maturing… stepping out of slavery and into our Promised Land, there’s a shift that has to take place. And that shift is letting go. It’s a sign of maturity. — B
There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flame of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. — Exodus 3:2
Do you feel known by God in your difficult circumstances? Seen by Him? Heard by Him? Even if your situation is so confusing, or the difficulty goes on and on (not for 40 years maybe, but it sure seems like it!), or you just really want the Lord to answer your prayers and He hasn’t yet.
Maybe this season is about surrender.
Mine is. I am not a closet control freak. I’m right on out there trying to make everything go the way I want it to, planning, thinking, praying, choreographing, counseling God on how He should handle matters (not a great idea). Even though the Lord has taught me over and over again to throw down what’s in my hand, as He did with Moses, I have to re-learn to surrender in every season. (Maybe you are nodding your head, yes, because you know exactly what I mean.)
Surrender is a lifestyle. It’s a choice. Moses had to make that choice and so do we — whether or not we’re going to stop, listen to the burning bush, take off our shoes because we’re on unexpected holy ground, and obey God when He asks us to surrender everything. It’s scary, but it’s the only way for a devoted follower of Jesus to live, right? Surrendered.
In the fire I’m in right now my prayer sounds like this, “This is your problem to solve, Jesus. I can’t fix this. I don’t have the resources, skills, abilities, or wisdom to handle this. I can’t do a single thing about it, God. But YOU can. You are God! You are the Holy and All-powerful One! All I am and all I have is Yours. I surrender all.” I’ve got a feeling it’s where He has me on purpose.
Where God has you is where God wants you. — B
I’ve got a feeling it’s the perfect place for His glory to shine in my life. How about you? What if the fire you are in is the perfect launching point for the completely wild thing God has for you… if only you will be willing to open your hand, let go, surrender what you think you need, what you want, what you know to be secure? What if His love is bigger than you imagine and He’s right by your side even in this?
He knows you. He is pursuing you… Come to Me. I know you. I see you. I’ve remembered you. I know what’s going on. — B
God called Moses to do something absolutely wild! And, He’s calling you and me, too. I’m surrendering. How about you?
I will be with you… — Exodus 3:12
During a season of fire, let’s let go of what we’re grasping onto, give it to God, and even in trials and suffering, take off our shoes because God is in our midst and we’re standing on holy ground.
God said to Moses, “I am who I am’… — Exodus 3:14
Prayer for the Week
Father, we are awed to be in Your presence. Even in our struggles and difficulties, we acknowledge that You are God and we are not. You are in control, not us. You are our God. Show us Your will, Lord, what You would have us do and be. Help us to surrender everything to You without grasping and clinging. Help us to trust that You hear us, see us, and know us… And, that in the midst of our fire-y trials, we need to kick off our shoes because You are here and we are on holy ground. We love you, God. Amen.
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Do you have a story of surrender? What was your biggest takeaway from this week? Share your comments on our blog! We’d love to hear from you!