God still speaks and he isn't always subtle. We started our bible study with this expectation, having little prepared and allowing God to lead us in his word. I earmarked two verses just to jump-start the conversation: 2 Timothy 4:2 and 1 Peter 3:15.
Little did I know that God intended to continue speaking to me, building on the experience I had after last week's bible study. Rather than simply read the individual pieces of scripture we read from a section heading to another section heading to include those verses in order to try to keep them in better context. As I read 1 Peter 3:13-14, I stopped reading for a moment.
"Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. 'Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened."
I didn't believe the story I was told last week. But that doesn't change the fact these people need Christ, just like I do. Yet, even starting with the greatest of intentions, a fear set in. And tonight after reading those verses it set in. How am I supposed to serve and love people when I am afraid of them. Fear gets in the way. We hear about all the bad things in the news, but maybe the actions of a few are not representative of a whole. And the stereotypes go both ways. How many times have we as the Church heard people say they don't want to be a part of the church because of hate from groups such as Westboro Baptist Church or abuse by Catholic priests?
I am so thankful that God still chooses to speak to us through his word.