Tammy Real-McKeighan

Tammy Real-McKeighan , Spiritual Spinach

About five years ago, some of my friends and I launched the Citywide Women’s Bible Study.

We had fun.

Using video Bible studies by teacher and author Beth Moore, we and women throughout the area were able to study the books of James and Esther. We also studied what’s known as the Psalms of Ascents in the Bible and had just started “John the Beloved Disciple,” when my husband, Chuck, was in a car accident. He survived the accident and had surgery, but coded days later and died on Feb. 28, 2013.

My friend, Kathy Howerton, moderated the rest of the study of John — for which I’m very grateful.

I haven’t moderated a study since then.

That’s about to change.

Starting Sept. 28, a Citywide Women’s Bible Study will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursdays at Full Life Church, 2380 Seaton Ave., in Fremont. All area women are invited.

The seven-week study will be Priscilla Shirer’s “Gideon — Your Weaknesses, God’s Strength.”

Priscilla is a wonderful teacher and speaker and I’ve done several of her studies, including “Gideon,” on my own. I like Priscilla’s studies just as well at Beth’s and, actually, I think they’re friends.

And if you saw the movie, “War Room,” you’ve seen Priscilla. She played the leading role of a real estate agent, whose marriage is on the rocks when she’s befriended by an older woman who becomes her spiritual mentor.

It’s a good movie and Priscilla does a great job in it. The daughter of widely known pastor Tony Evans, Priscilla also has written some excellent Bible studies and “Gideon” is one of those.

Found in the Old Testament book of Judges, Gideon was man whose people — the Israelites — had fallen away from God. As a result, God allowed the Midianites and their allies the Amalekites to cause the Israelites some problems.

Lots of problems.

Whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites would devour them and take the people’s livestock as well.

It was a terrible time for the Israelites, who hid in caves in the mountains.

This is when we meet Gideon.

At the time, he’s hiding out, threshing grain in a winepress when the angel of the Lord basically gives him some marching orders — telling him to save Israel from the Midianites.

But to Gideon such a thing seems impossible.

He’s part of the weakest group of the Israelites and as far as his family is concerned — he’s basically the runt of the litter.

If anybody had an inferiority complex, it was probably Gideon.

Yet Gideon will discover that it’s not in man’s strength that mighty deeds are done — but in God’s.

And Gideon will need plenty of that strength when he takes 300 men to try to conquer a camp of thousands of Midianites.

The story of Gideon is a marvelous one about how God can use ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Anybody who’s ever felt overwhelmed, inexperienced or insufficient can find strength, comfort and even courage from Gideon’s story.

As it says in Priscilla’s study: God can use your weakness to unlock his strength.

You may not be facing an army of thousands, but you may have your own challenges in the form of financial or job problems, family struggles, health concerns or any one of a myriad of difficulties. You might be in the middle of a battle, whose enemy soldiers are fear, guilt, grief, regret, loneliness or shame.

These are some hefty opponents.

That’s when hearing the story of Gideon can provide hope and incredible encouragement.

I hope and pray many area residents will participate in this Bible study.

It’s a good opportunity to meet and connect with other women.

I have a couple more thoughts.

Years ago, it was common for women to gather at churches and make quilts (some still do).

My point is this: The projects afforded them time to talk about their lives, families and current events. In the process, they formed some strong bonds.

Women today are often so busy with jobs, families and other activities.

We text and send emails. We briefly make posts on Facebook.

But times of sitting and talking with other women don’t happen too much.

That’s one of the added bonuses of a study like this.

We have a chance to visit with other women also working to navigate life. It’s an opportunity to spend time with dear friends and make some new ones.

Women interested in the Bible study are asked to register by Sept. 18 via the Full Life Church website at www.fulllifechurch.org or by calling the church at 402-721-1010 so workbooks can be ordered in time.

The two-hour Bible study sessions will include an hour for discussion on the previous week’s study, the video and prayer time.

Please let me stop and tell you now that the workbook study is really good and you can gain a lot from it. Don’t worry if you get behind in the workbook. Still come to the study.

If you hate doing “homework,” you don’t have to get a book. You can just sit in the study with the other women during that first hour. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy the conversation.

I’d also like to tell women to come to the study — whether you’re going through a rough time or if this is one of the best times of your life. You may be a wonderful source of encouragement for someone else.

I also appreciate Good Shepherd Lutheran Church so much. We had our first four Bible studies there and they were very gracious and helpful with everything and trust we’ll always find an open door there. We just wanted to try having the ecumenical study at Full Life.

One of the things I love best about these studies is that they are ecumenical — women from many different church denominations participate in them and enjoy the shared faith experience.

Please contact the church if you have any questions and please consider attending.

Think of it this way: All week long you do things for others — your families and friends and even your churches.

This is something you do for you — to recharge your batteries so you can be the best you.

Best of all it’s a chance to hear the faith stories of other Christians, to learn from Priscilla who’s a wonderful teacher, and most importantly have an opportunity to grow closer to our Lord.

Hope to see you soon!

Tammy McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She can be reached at (402) 721-5000, Ext. 1433 or via e-mail at tammy.mckeighan@lee.net.

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