We connect ministry wives around the globe for the purpose of prayer, encouragement, awareness, accountability, bible study and friendship.

Lesson from the Fishbowl

By: Donna Avant Recently my husband, John, purchased a fish and a fishbowl to use in a sermon illustration.  His plan was to give away the fish and the fishbowl the next week.  However, he grew fond of the fish and, oddly, I have also.  He confessed last week to our entire congregation that he has found himself on occasion talking to the fish he has now named, D.O.C. (Disciple of Christ)!  I promise you that John has not lost his mind.   The truth is this little black beta fish has reminded us both of some very valuable lessons we have learned over 38 years of being in the ministry. The transparency of the fishbowl is crucial.    Upon becoming a pastor’s wives 38 years ago, I was told that fishbowl life was terrible.  Everyone would be watching me; everyone examining my every move.   Yet, what I have discovered is that living in a fishbowl is actually...

Jesus, Our Joy–Lesson 6

When I was in college, I took a psychology class where we studied Pavlov's dogs. These dogs were quickly trained/conditioned that when a bell rang they would be fed. They were quick learners at cause and effect. Many of us have been conditioned to believe that if we manage to stack a resumé of good deeds together, we will experience the favor of God. It really makes good sense. However, Paul warns us in Phililppians 3 against putting our confidence in the flesh. He puts into perspective the contrast of a mechanical religion versus an intimate relationship. Lesson 6 will challenge us to view our self-righteous acts as the puny achievements they are and turn our pursuits toward God.

Jesus, Our Joy–Lesson 5

In our fifth lesson, we piggy back onto lesson 4 where we considered how God handles the humble. Though we see how God exalts, extends mercy and provides generously for the humble, God is not indifferent to the proud. The week we consider signs of pride in our own hearts and Paul's challenge to lower ourselves. With a goal of taking the low place, we are freed from the exhausting stance of defense. When we value the interest of others above our own, we are no longer compelled to be right and are thus relieved from the burden of maintaining some reputation. We are released from the idols of greed, control, and status. we realize we don't have anything to defend. Paul's words are challenging and encouraging as we discover just what it means to experience Jesus as our true joy.

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Jesus, Our Joy–Lesson 4

We've made it 1/3 way through our study. It's easy to get behind because well, life. We all have a lot going on which is why online Bible study is such a gift. However, the Enemy is an expert at making us feel guilty and shamed if we don't have all the blanks filled in or haven't gotten it all done by the time we think we should. Let me encourage you to not give in to such discouragement. If you get behind, that's okay. Jump back in and don't rush. Let God speak to you through each day of study in His Word. God isn't eager to scold you but instead He longs to meet with you and transform you. Lesson 4 brings us to Chapter 2. Brace yourself because Chapter 2 comes packed with some harsh words and most likely some crushed toes. As we...

Jesus, Our Joy–Lesson 3

In this lesson, we finish up Paul's introduction of his letter to the Philippians. This section of the letter certainly challenges our way of thinking when it comes to experiencing true joy. We discover that Paul is living out some of our worst nightmares when it comes to opposition to our faith in Christ. So many of us question if we could actually follow through the way that Paul did in the midst of really difficult circumstances. Paul seems to give us some insight as to his secret as we discover his goals and perspective toward his life purpose. I feel confident that God will use Paul's words to challenge and encourage you. As a western Christian, I'm not sure that Paul's letter to the Philippians isn't most relevant to prepare us for what is to come in the years ahead. My prayer is that God will...

Jesus, Our Joy–Lesson 2

In this lesson, we will take a more in-depth look at Paul's opening words to the church in Philippi. With the knowledge we have about the specific people Paul is writing to, Paul's words will carry more weight and meaning. We will discover one of Paul's major themes throughout the letter as well as considering a shift in our heart attitude toward those in God's church whom we don't like or agree with. As we consider the relationships in our lives (Christians and non-Christians) we are desperately in need of God's guidance in both love and discernment. Paul gives us some challenging words and a road map toward receiving and living out His love and discernment.

Jesus, Our Joy–Intro

Meet Bobi Ann Allen, your teacher for the Jesus, Our Joy study. She'll introduce you to more about the study in this video:

    how online Bible study works from Bobi Ann Allen on Vimeo. Purchase Study Guide Here Head on over the Jesus, Our Joy Forum to introduce yourself. Jesus, Our Joy Discussion Forum

Jesus, Our Joy–Lesson 1–An Unusual Start

Philippians is such a fascinating book written by a fascinating guy. In this lesson, we'll cover the background of Philippians: who it was written by and to whom it was written. I'm so grateful for the details that the Bible includes that give us not just a general insight into who this letter was written to but insight into individuals and their stories. After completing this lesson video, take some time to answer the Reflection Questions in your study guide. And then join in on the conversation as we consider how to apply what we've learned in this lesson. I'd love to hear your insight on what you've learned or what came to your mind. Jesus, Our Joy Discussion Forum Then after you complete your time with the teaching, you'll want to begin your personal daily study in the the book. The personal daily study will give you an opportunity to...