You can tell the woman who is a mother to school-aged children because they have play-dough in their homes…sometimes in the carpet, on the pet, in someone's hair (you get the picture). My son who is 6 loves play-dough. During the middle of my lesson God gave me this illustration that I pass onto you. When I was young, play-dough was very basic, but now there are whole packages of play-dough that comes with scissors, "cookie cutters" in different shapes. You can press these shapes into the play dough and make impressions all over the play dough. I was thrilled to make a snake out of play dough when I was little, but now they have play dough barber shops and the play dough grows out of their heads! At any rate, we are a lot like play dough. We go out into the world every day, and the world tries to leave its mark on us, to make an impression on our lives…sometimes its stars or circles, but other times they are just trying to wring us out and string us out till we are thin as a rope telling us we need to work harder because we need to have this size TV, these shoes, this handbag, or our kids have to have the next and latest gadget.
There are a lot of reasons and excuses people don't study the Word of God, but as my daddy says, "Excuses are like belly buttons, everybody's got one." I highly recommend you read my prior blog about the challenge of the relationship. Make sure you have your priorities in order because Satan would like nothing more than to see you fail in this relationship. And any time we say we are going to commit to growing and begin, Satan is going to make it difficult. If Satan isn't messin' with you, then you ain't doin' squat to irritate him – just sayin', girlfriends…just keepin' it real.
I am challenging the women, my girlfriends in my Sunday school class to have a deeper, more intimate relationship with the Lover of their souls, their Savior, their Creator and their Redeemer. In order to do this, we have to get off the bottle! We HAVE to be meat-eaters. We have to be able to set at the table He has prepared for us and feast on His Word in that one-to-One relationship. Bible studies are great! I love Beth Moore, Priscilla Schrier, Lysa Turkheurst, and the list goes on and on, but there is no substitute for being able to sit down with the Word of God, digging in it, finding the meat that He has prepared for you and digesting it conforming your life to the Word of God. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE!
There are two resources I use, and because not everyone can afford to go out and by commentaries, Bible dictionaries, Biblical maps, I want to provide you with these FREE resources. I encourage you to not only use them, but explore them, see how they work, and then dig in. The first is http://www.biblegateway.com/. On this site you can put a word, part of a verse, or the actual location of the verse and it will search the whole Bible providing you with a list of possible verses. The reason I like this website is because it allows you to choose from different translations from which to read. If you don't understand King James, great! Try NIV or the Message. This site will do that for you. The next site is http://www.mystudybible.com/. This site is the Holcomb Christian Standard Bible. This is the first Bible in a very long time that they went back to the original text to translate the Bible. Those who were translating were not necessarily Baptist. They were linguistics who know Greek and Hebrew –God love 'em! You can put in a word or a scripture. The site pulls it up. If there is a word that is underlined just simply roll you mouse over the word and the site gives you the definition in its original text. If there is a letter indexing a word or sentence, roll over it with the mouse and scripture location is given. If you will roll over that verse it will pop up that verse in its entirety! On the right side of this site are other tables like for dictionary, word study, etc. Explore and learn how to use this site. It is most helpful.
On MyStudyBible.com it lists some motivations for wanting to be meat-eaters, for having a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ:
- "to experience consistent joy" (Ps 119:111)
- "to sort out our thoughts and motivations" (Heb 4:12)
- "to guard ourselves from sin and error" (Eph 5:11-17, 1 Pet 2:1-2)
- "to know God in a personal relationship" (1 Cor 1:21, Gal 4:8-9, 1 Tim 4:16)
- "to know truth and think clearly about what God says is valuable (2 Pet 1:21) – Do not try to conform God's infallible Word to fit your lifestyle, your sin – that's not someplace I would want to be standing!
- "to reject conformity to the world as we renew our minds" (Rom 12:1-2)
- "to experience God's freedom, grace, peace, and hope (Jn 8:32, Rm 15:4) – YES, YES, YES!!!!
Before you start this journey with us you must believe that the Bible is a unit – it is complete. If you believe one part of it, you have to believe it all because if you don't believe it all, you might as well not believe any of it, and don't waste your time. Second, the Bible is God's inerrant Word – He may have used man to write down His words, but the Bible is God-inspired, God-breathes and it contains NO ERRORS. That is it. The BLACK and the WHITE of it. NON-NEGOTIABLES.
My challenge for you this week as we begin this journey together is this:
- Pray that God will give you a desire, an insatiable hunger for His Word. Pray it daily before you start reading His word, and when you pray, leave time to be silent, to be still.
- Invest in a Bible that you can understand. If you can't understand the Bible you have, you won't have much of a desire to read it. It's like when my mom led the seniors to read Beowulf (or however, that's spelled). I couldn't understand that book anymore than I could if I were to read Greek, but she was there to make sense of it. Get a Bible that you can make sense of.
- Get a journal, a pen, a hi-lighter and your Bible and find your place to spend time in the Word.
- Read the first 5 verses in the Proverbs for each day. Today is February 6th, so I would read Proverbs 6:1-5. Take one verse at a time. Meditate on it. Read it in a different version. Write down in your journal the pattern you see, what you should learn from it, what is He saying to you. I underline the subject once and the verb twice – it helps me to dissect God's Word – to recognize if it's an action verb or if the verb is in present tense. It's okay to write in your Bible. Use the references I gave you above to see what you find out.
Each week we will learn a new principle about studying God's Word, and I will give a new challenge for you to do the next week. My prayer is that the challenge will help you to grow in your faith and in your relationship. If you miss a day, don't let it keep you down. GET BACK UP! You're only a failure if you never get back up! You can do this. I know you can!