Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Going Beyond

Chapter four of Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl is appropriately named, "Beyond Sunday Morning". I agree with Lysa when she says regardless of the length of our walk with God "we would all do well to desire more of Him." I'm so very thankful that our gracious God "honors the honest prayers of people desiring a richer connection with Him."

We can learn much from children. Lysa hoped the preacher man would listen and take heed to her young child thoughts. When she was a child, she expressed her desire to have children's church like she had experienced elsewhere. She desired to have someone preach to kids in a way they could understand and apply as they read the Bible. Why? On the lighter side "because, really, it's a shame to wear a scratchy dress for half a weekend day and sit on a hard pew only to draw pictures, fall asleep, and count spit droplets." At such a young age, not yet discovering Jesus, she desired more than a Sunday routine. "What I really loved was the way my friend's church made me want to go home and open the Bible for myself." [As I said, we can learn much from children.]

Five words that we all need to take to heart: open the Bible for myself. Too many times we seek the church for spiritual growth and learning when we need to be self-feeders. Bill Hybels says it best. "When people became Christians, we should have started teaching them that they have to take responsibility to become 'self-feeders'. We should have taught people how to read their Bible between services and how to practice spiritual disciplines much more aggressively on their own!"

Discipline. Spiritual discipline. Practice spiritual discipline. Aggressively practice. That's a big order to chew but we're called to chew it so we will have the best nutrients, the best spiritual walk with God. For a mother is there any greater milestone than her child feeding oneself? (Okay there are many.) There is freedom for the mother like the freedom of becoming a self-feeder of God. There's nothing better than a Christian becoming a self-feeder and not relying on another person to feed us.

Oh how I wish I would've known to feed myself at a young age of 21 and a babe in Christ. If I would've known what I know now...If I would've known to seek for myself in God's Word...If I would've been lead to the trough, maybe I would've drank for myself. Instead, I made a vast "mistake"...a life-changing decision. Yes, a growing experience but something I'd rather not have on my life's "resume".

Instead of seeking the church and the ministry to feed us and fulfill our needs, we must seek to make a difference in the body of Christ. Kind of like: don't ask what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country. Just replace country with church and we have what God desires for us. "Where can I become a woman who applies her knowledge of the Bible? Where can I live out the message of Jesus by serving, loving, and giving?"
Studying the Bible does not come easy. It takes time and determination. Yes, we have to study the Bible to know the Bible. We are not going to gain all God desires for us by listening to a sermon preached or a lesson taught. We have to go deeper and study on our own. "We'll never grow to our full potential unless we jump in and get serious about studying scripture." Lysa suggests three things to do when we determine to tackling the intimidation and study the Word alone: pray, discover the context, and read the passage phrase by phrase.

We will be on our way to become a self-feeder by doing those. Of course it is always good to pray before reading His Word, asking God each time to teach us and show us His Truths for our lives. We call upon God to open our eyes and prepare our hearts for the riches we are about to receive. Approaching His Word is like approaching a bountiful feast...a feast for our souls.

Many times we can assume that simply reading the text will enlighten us. There is so much more to reading the Bible than say a fictional book or any book for that matter...a leisure read without stops of meditation. There is so much in a study Bible to aid us. Like Lysa, I also like to read the intro or info section of each book. It gives the time, author, place, and theme. Knowing the background gives more understanding while reading the Word. It's almost like a light bulb going off: 'Oh that's why it says that. Oh that's who that is. Oh that's the circumstance surrounding the passage.'

Dissecting is also helpful when reading the Bible. It takes time but if I'm seeking to truly understand a passage, I also read the commentary notes with each verse. Though the commentary is simply one man's thoughts, it can give understanding where there is none.

Lysa suggests reading the passage phrase by phrase and writing down the verse and then group the word or words that "go" together.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. Ephesians 1:17

I keep asking...
"constant prayer. daily dependence. discipline and perseverance and determination."

the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father...
"go to God personally. completely enjoyable."

may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation...
"Having wisdom and revelation might help them [Ephesians] make a good choice or two, but Paul wants them to have the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that their every word, every attitude, every action and reaction, every thought is infused with the wisdom of God and reined in by His revelation."
That's deep. That's a huge eye-opener. Such a vast difference between wisdom/revelation and the Spirit of wisdom/revelation.

so that you may know Him better...
"So that reveals the intentions of the heart. Having the Spirit of wisdom and revelation is purely 'so that' I can know God better. Really know Him."

Oh to know God better. Is there anything greater?

Wanting to Go Beyond,

© Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.


Pat said...

Ooohh Paula, this one sounds like it is taking you places that bruise the toes but tenderize the heart! Lysa is such an example of being MORE!!
So are you sister!
Blessings this week,

much2ponder said...

Your post goes along so well with what I have been feeling for some time. Blessings on you Paula.

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

Dear Paula,
I saw your comment on Lysa's blog today, and just wanted to offer up a suggestion for your small group (you may have thought of this already, but figured I'd chime in). The small group I lead was doing a Beth Moore study & time was a factor for us, too. One of our options was the first week, no video, just discussion based on the homework. The following week, we'd watch the video and have a discussion based on the video. Don't know if Lysa's videos will be like Beth Moore's, but just thought I'd share an option for you. This also gave busy women a longer period of time to do the homework. Hope this helps :)

By the way, I'm a follower of Joanne over at Blessed, too. Come visit me over at Eternity Cafe!

On Purpose said...

Know Paula you are loved, by me and more importantly by Him! I am standing with you and praying for you! (I left the prayer on my blog under the comments! :)

Laura said...

Thanks for reminding me to stop by, Paula, I'm glad I did! The end part about writing the scripture and grouping like words sounds a bit like the inductive Bible study method of which Kay Arthur is a big proponent. I've never done any of her studies, but a friend of mine and I did the book of Romans using this method once. Wow! I saw things I had never seen before. A great way to read scripture.

I hope you are doing well this week. Remember that fall can be a time of rest...nourishing roots at all the outward embellishments fall away. Rest, dear one.

Sending love,

Twinkle Mom@SunflowerFaith said...

Very encouraging and thoughtful post; Isn't the book just amazing?