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Discussion Questions: Marriage & Relationship, Part 5

Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Principles, Part 5

Elizabeth/Zechariah and Mary/Joseph
Discussion Questions

Study Recap

Part 1:

  • Naomi, Ruth & Boaz (Book of Ruth)
  • Jacob, Leah, Rachel (Genesis 29-31, 34-35)

Part 2:

  • Abram/Abraham & Sarai/Sarah (Genesis 12-13, 15-18, 20-22)
  • Hosea & Gomer (Book of Hosea)

Part 3:

  • Adam/Adamah & Chavah/Eve (Genesis 1-5, Revelation 22)

Part 4:

  • Elkanah & Hannah (1 Samuel 1-3) 
  • Manoah & His Wife (Judges 13) 

Part 5:

  • Elizabeth and Zechariah (Luke 1)
  • Mary and Joseph (Matthew 1, Luke 1-3)

Part 5 Themes

  • Spiritual pregnancy and purpose
  • Favor
  • Lineage
  • Identity

Study Questions

  • How is faith represented in these stories?
  • What errors do the righteous make in the presence of God or with His messengers?
  • Disbelief is shared between genders as is immediate faith. Was Zechariah punished or given an opportunity? Why do you think he was sentenced to silenced for his question and Mary wasn’t? For that matter, neither were Abraham and Sarah. Why does Zechariah stand out in his disbelief? 
  • How are the prayers and prophesies of Hannah, Mary/Elizabeth and Zechariah similar?
  • What correlations do you see within the stories we’ve reviewed (re: couples, friends, family, community, relationship with God)?
  • The following women are not given origins in their narratives: Sarai, Manoah’s wife, Mary. What do you read into this or take away from it?
  • What is the role or importance of barrenness, children and adoption in the stories?
  • How does travel impact Mary and Elizabeth in their stories? What role does travel play in the other stories?
  • What are the similarities between the conception, pregnancies, instructions for and lives of Samson, Samuel, John and Jesus?
  • Where is God in the relationship and story?

The discussion for Part 5 will be on Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 8:00am MT. All are welcome to join. Email for link.

Related Posts:

Related Sermons:

Some items I’ve read during my study:

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ACAD – Rejected: Psalm 78

God’s Goodness and Israel’s Ingratitude

A Maskil of Asaph.

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
    incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
    I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
    that our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their children;
    we will tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done.

He established a decree in Jacob,
    and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
    to teach to their children;
that the next generation might know them,
    the children yet unborn,
and rise up and tell them to their children,
    so that they should set their hope in God,
and not forget the works of God,
    but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their ancestors,
    a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
    whose spirit was not faithful to God.

The Ephraimites, armed with[a] the bow,
    turned back on the day of battle.
They did not keep God’s covenant,
    but refused to walk according to his law.
They forgot what he had done,
    and the miracles that he had shown them.
In the sight of their ancestors he worked marvels
    in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan.
He divided the sea and let them pass through it,
    and made the waters stand like a heap.
In the daytime he led them with a cloud,
    and all night long with a fiery light.
He split rocks open in the wilderness,
    and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.
He made streams come out of the rock,
    and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

Yet they sinned still more against him,
    rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
They tested God in their heart
    by demanding the food they craved.
They spoke against God, saying,
    “Can God spread a table in the wilderness?
Even though he struck the rock so that water gushed out
    and torrents overflowed,
can he also give bread,
    or provide meat for his people?”

Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of rage;
    a fire was kindled against Jacob,
    his anger mounted against Israel,
because they had no faith in God,
    and did not trust his saving power.
Yet he commanded the skies above,
    and opened the doors of heaven;
he rained down on them manna to eat,
    and gave them the grain of heaven.
Mortals ate of the bread of angels;
    he sent them food in abundance.
He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens,
    and by his power he led out the south wind;
he rained flesh upon them like dust,
    winged birds like the sand of the seas;
he let them fall within their camp,
    all around their dwellings.
And they ate and were well filled,
    for he gave them what they craved.
But before they had satisfied their craving,
    while the food was still in their mouths,
the anger of God rose against them
    and he killed the strongest of them,
    and laid low the flower of Israel.

In spite of all this they still sinned;
    they did not believe in his wonders.
So he made their days vanish like a breath,
    and their years in terror.
When he killed them, they sought for him;
    they repented and sought God earnestly.
They remembered that God was their rock,
    the Most High God their redeemer.
But they flattered him with their mouths;
    they lied to him with their tongues.
Their heart was not steadfast toward him;
    they were not true to his covenant.
Yet he, being compassionate,
    forgave their iniquity,
    and did not destroy them;
often he restrained his anger,
    and did not stir up all his wrath.
He remembered that they were but flesh,
    a wind that passes and does not come again.
How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
    and grieved him in the desert!
They tested God again and again,
    and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
They did not keep in mind his power,
    or the day when he redeemed them from the foe;
when he displayed his signs in Egypt,
    and his miracles in the fields of Zoan.
He turned their rivers to blood,
    so that they could not drink of their streams.
He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them,
    and frogs, which destroyed them.
He gave their crops to the caterpillar,
    and the fruit of their labor to the locust.
He destroyed their vines with hail,
    and their sycamores with frost.
He gave over their cattle to the hail,
    and their flocks to thunderbolts.
He let loose on them his fierce anger,
    wrath, indignation, and distress,
    a company of destroying angels.
He made a path for his anger;
    he did not spare them from death,
    but gave their lives over to the plague.
He struck all the firstborn in Egypt,
    the first issue of their strength in the tents of Ham.
Then he led out his people like sheep,
    and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid;
    but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
And he brought them to his holy hill,
    to the mountain that his right hand had won.
He drove out nations before them;
    he apportioned them for a possession
    and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.

Yet they tested the Most High God,
    and rebelled against him.
    They did not observe his decrees,
but turned away and were faithless like their ancestors;
    they twisted like a treacherous bow.
For they provoked him to anger with their high places;
    they moved him to jealousy with their idols.
When God heard, he was full of wrath,
    and he utterly rejected Israel.
He abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh,
    the tent where he dwelt among mortals,
and delivered his power to captivity,
    his glory to the hand of the foe.
He gave his people to the sword,
    and vented his wrath on his heritage.
Fire devoured their young men,
    and their girls had no marriage song.
Their priests fell by the sword,
    and their widows made no lamentation.
Then the Lord awoke as from sleep,
    like a warrior shouting because of wine.
He put his adversaries to rout;
    he put them to everlasting disgrace.

He rejected the tent of Joseph,
    he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;
but he chose the tribe of Judah,
    Mount Zion, which he loves.
He built his sanctuary like the high heavens,
    like the earth, which he has founded forever.
He chose his servant David,
    and took him from the sheepfolds;
from tending the nursing ewes he brought him
    to be the shepherd of his people Jacob,
    of Israel, his inheritance.
With upright heart he tended them,
    and guided them with skillful hand.


  1. Psalm 78:9 Heb armed with shooting

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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reCap: A Chapter a Day

My blog does not get a lot of traffic, but I am happy sharing with a modest number of people. The Chapter a Day series during the month of August 2014 was a personal challenge for me to re-engage more fully with God’s word. Snippets here and there weren’t doing me much good. I needed to immerse myself in the Word.

I did not intend to map out a plan of chapters, but of course being a natural planner I created an outline for the first couple of weeks. That outline was not followed. Instead, I stayed true to my original intent and allowed the Holy Spirit to guide me.

What an exhilarating tale, experience and journey the month of chapters has been! And more people than usual, shared the journey with me.

Visits to my blog increased significantly this month. In fact, during August 2014 – a month when I shared a full chapter from the Bible each day – I’ve had more visitors than any other month during the nearly three-year stat history of this blog (Spirit Harvest). My second busiest month was July 2013.

I won’t be able to sustain this volume of posts, but I will continue to share a meaty word with you. 😉 I’m encouraged and hope you are too!

Chapters shared

Ruth 1-4: Ruth’s faith and obedience leads her to Boaz who becomes her redeemer (of family property) and husband

John 1-6: Jesus, the Word of God, giving instructions with words of spirit and life

Hosea 1-2: Per God’s instructions, Hosea makes a wife of a whore who continues in her wayward ways after their marriage. Yet he is instructed to pursue and woo her.

Song of Solomon 1-3: Joy and beauty of youthful love

Ephesians 4-6: Instructions for husbands, wives, children and Believers of all stages

Haggai 1-2: Rebuilding of the temple of God; a call to obedience and restoration

1 John 1-5: The nature of God – light, life and love

Joel 1-3: Destruction followed by repentance. People return to the Lord; He pours out His Spirit

1 Peter 1-2: Born again to a Living Hope, holy people, submission to authority

Genesis 2: Forming of man and woman, placement in the Garden of Eden, relationship and unity


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reFocus: August 2014

August is my favorite month of the year!


Thanks for asking! It’s the one month of the year with no holiday other than my birthday. 🙂 It’s not my favorite simply because I’ve learned to pamper myself, but because it’s a dedicated period of refocusing for me. Let’s just say that this is the month I usually recalibrate myself. It’s the time I get super reflective and do life evaluations. I think about the calendar year: Where am I in the process of goals I set for myself? What can I do to close things out before year-end?  I think about what has been accomplished or fallen to the wayside since my last birthday: What have I paid off? What needs paying off? And I think about my over-all life: Where am I? What’s next? What can I do today to get to where I want to be tomorrow?

This August, however, I am not going to focus on all that so much because this year (and last year – since my last birthday) I’ve experienced so much change and have had major adjustments (still ongoing) that thinking about it all again will just exhaust me!

What I do want to focus on is Spirit Harvest. My life business that just won’t take flight.

I want to get back to feeding myself spiritually. I want to get back to overflowing joy and sharing my bounty through my writing. Over the last couple of weeks, I have returned to the most basic element for everyone’s faith walk: I opened my Bible (went to a Bible app on my phone during my morning commute) and just started reading wherever my mind took me.

I don’t remember what the first chapters were, but I do know I needed the messages I received. This week I was lead to Romans. And I felt an overwhelming desire to share the verses that were speaking to me as soon as I could get free of the subway. After a couple of commutes reading, it crossed my mind that it would be great to just share the Word with no commentary. I have nothing to say right now, anyway. I feel as if my wisdom has turned to ashes. But even with this dryness of spirit, I am refreshed and watered by God’s Word. Straight. No fillers. No chasers.

So my challenge to myself for the month of August 2014, is to post a chapter a day. To share with you whatever God leads me to in my musings.

I’m so delighted that Ruth will kick off A Chapter of Day series. It’s fitting since I, too, am a woman looking to exit her desert and enter into a space covered by love.

I would love to hear what your experiences are with the readings this month. Please share and comment.

All of God’s best to you,


LaShawnda at Red Rock Canyon, NV Photo credit: Deidra Wilson Photography
LaShawnda at Red Rock Canyon, NV
Photo credit: Deidra Wilson Photography


“When Love Sees You (JESUS)” by Mac Powell

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