(While the following post is much longer than normal at almost 2,000 words, please read the entire thing. I reveal some very person things going on in my life at the time. Thank you.)
Today is November 6, 2015 and I am on week 4 day 1 of the study guide. During my quiet time, I talk about some very personal stuff but just how much God has been working in my life.
When we think of the Bible, it’s like the ultimate guide book. It shows us the kind of person we should strive to be. How to act towards others. Who Satan is and why we need to not give in to his temptations. Why God ultimately chose Abraham and to make all his descendants His chosen people. There is just so much about what to do and not to do. However, it’s also like a really kewl history book. It tells us where we came from, who we are as human beings, and how it all began.
Jen Hatmaker states on page 114 (in her book A Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study), “You cannot underestimate the importance of knowing a little history. Relevant background frames the present and helps you understand what you’re dealing with. This is especially true in Bible study. Hebrews 2:1 says this of God’s Word: ‘We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.'”
(I normally don’t like to quote from a book this much in one shot, but Jen’s next paragraph says it in a way that just makes sense.)
“Paying closer attention is a challenge. We are a people of the superficial. Paying much closer attention requires looking beyond the obvious. This is a matter of learning to ask NEW Questions. Every word of the Bible was penned within the framework of circumstances, so let’s start with considering relevant history.”
Here is an interesting concept. I’ve owned my NIV Life Application Study Bible since August 2, 1999 (my birthday, a gift from Keith’s mom and dad). I noticed the other day that the binding is starting to get worn out. So in 15 years of owning this Bible I’ve never paid much attention to the introductions to any of the books of the Bible. They never really interested me before.
However, Jen’s study opened my eyes to why this can be so beneficial. This info not only gives us who wrote the in particular book but it can give you other info such as who the intended audience was for. It’s a starting place for getting to know the very author God CHOSE to write one of the 66 books in His Word. Every book in the Bible was chosen for a reason. Wouldn’t it be kewl getting to know the very person who wrote it?
Jen has on pages 115-116 questions she asks about the author for the in particular book she chose to study in the Bible. There are 9 main questions with two questions having 5 sub-questions. She asks these so she can get to know the author to the best of her ability, because, for obvious reasons, she can’t exactly interview them.
As Jen say on page 117, the point to doing all this is “having this foundation in place will keep the book connected to the author as you read. You won’t believe how often you’ll refer to this information. His writing will be forever linked to his personal story.” I mean, how kewl is that. I’d never really thought of it like this before.
Page 121, “If we’re serious about digging into God’s Word, we have to be students of the Bible. Studying takes a little work. It doesn’t require an innate level of biblical scholarship; it simply requires more time.”
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new?”
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
What has been, that will be;
What as been done, that will be done.
Nothing is new under the sun;
the future only repeats the past.
One person may say of some idea,
“Pay attention to this; it’s original!”
But the same idea has already been expressed;
it’s been with us through the ages.
I just had an “awe-ha” kind of moment. Jen says on page 126, “Called to something you’re terrified of? Check out Jonah.” I can’t explain, but God has place on my heart, of all the people, that I’m to start talking to women about my testimony about how God has worked in my life through trauma, heartache, and tragedy. The question becomes do I WANT to do this? Um, no. However, I feel it in my gut God is CALLING me to do it. So I will do my best to follow what God wants me to do, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. Just sayin’. 🙂
Page 126-127, “Not only can we walk the journeys of our characters, but we also get to see how God deals with real people. He’s always been the same.” (And He always will be.)… Paul said in Romans 4:23-24, “The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for [Abraham] alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead” (NIV).
“Through God’s stories, He tells us, ‘See? You can trust Me. This is how I love. This is Who I am. I’m the same God to you, and you’re safe with me.’ It’s the Ultimate Resume.”
Now that’s the epitome of kewl.
I have no doubt God knew we’d need as much written down as He thought would show us, basically, the blue print, so to speak, with coming to know Christ and how to live our lives as believers in Him.
When we choose to study the Bible, because God will never force us to, we are making a decision that we really want to know more. It becomes personal for us. It changes us.
Here recently, to say I’ve been struggling is beyond a major understatement. I haven’t felt this low since that first year or so since the night my beloved angel, my one and only little girl, died in my arms.
I cry almost for no reason. I take things too personally, like I’m being attacked. The thing is I have been being attacked. Satan was able to use the smallest amount of weakness and compound it exponentially. I mean, I was praying for God to take me. That is NOT a good place to be.
Then yesterday morning I on purposely got up before Keith and Athena to spend time with God and do my Bible study. I don’t think I can find just the right words to express the transformation that took place. God, the Holy Spirit, spoke to me so clearly. The lie I believed—I was alone. the truth that set ME free—God is always by my side no matter what I do or what is happening in my life. I mean, I knew this, but now I understood it. Just one word: WOW! (I’m smiling and all giddy inside as I write this. No more sadness for this girl.)
Like Jen said on page 128, when we make the choice, we decide to give the history the Bible shows us just a smidge of our personal attention, it will never be the same to us again. I’d never thought about it like that before, but just from the short time I’ve been doing this study and learning how to study the Bible without an actual Bible study book has forever changed me.
I lost my train of thought earlier and where I wanted to go. I brought up how much I’ve been suffering inside for a reason.
My childhood has been anything but easy. The trauma I endured during it still affects me to this day and I’m 42 years old. I started to see a new therapist just over a year ago.
I went to my appointment this past Tuesday (November 3, 2015) and Keith came with. He’s been seeing how much I’ve been struggling and wanted to express this to my therapist to see what she can do to help me.
The session started okay, but I ended up crying so hard and telling them about how I’ve been praying God would take me home. Okay, I said I went to my therapy appointment. Need I say more. By the time the hour plus was over, she was so concerned for me that she scheduled another appointment with me just two days later on Thursday.
As I said earlier, I woke up early yesterday morning and the Holy Spirit showed me so much. I was filled with contentment. It’s like everything was gone. All the angst and anxiety had vanished.
As the time approached for me to go to my appointment yesterday I really felt I didn’t need this extra appointment. So I called her cell and talked to her. I told her about my morning.
Guess what happened. She said that getting up and doing my personal quiet time and studying the Bible first thing sets my tone for the day and is good for me. She suggested I make this a priority to start my day like this every day because it will help. I don’t know for sure whether she is a believer or not, but I can’t imagine a non-believer suggesting me to keep doing this.
I’m every so thankful to You, Lord, for bring her into my life. You knew who I needed at just the right time. Thank You.
As a result, I didn’t go to my appointment yesterday. Now isn’t that something!
I like this line on page 128, “What may feel awkward initially will become a habit.”
Jen ends the chapter with this verse, which I think is very fitting:
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that we could have hope. That hope comes from the patience and encouragement that the Scriptures give us.
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. They give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises.
You see, everything written in the days of old was recorded to give us instructions for living. We find encouragement through the Scriptures and a call to perseverance that will produce hopeful living.