It’s all About the Journey

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.  Psalm 37:25 (KJV)

From as far back as I can remember I was always on a journey to where and for what I wasn’t sure but bound and determined to get there.  I felt like one of those toys that are wound up and with feet flying sat back down on the ground.  I frantically scurried about stopping only briefly to change directions when encountering significant resistance.

I became a Christ follower as a teenager, and while that didn’t slow me down,  I had a better idea of where I was heading.  I had an insatiable need to know God’s word and studied diligently.  I learned to use various study tools including the Inductive Study Method.  Having a desire to ease the emotional suffering of others, I trained in Biblical Counseling.  I was always searching for my place of ministry.  The area where God had designed and equipped me to function already prepared and waiting for my arrival.  Young and full of energy, I grasped each opportunity encountered vowing to ‘make a difference’ in my world.   Unknowingly I set myself up for failure.

I was privileged to serve in several different areas and found each challenging and rewarding. Teaching, Writing, Drama, Counseling and even children’s ministry.  I worked hard focusing all my efforts on the perceived destination.  I was always sure it was where God had called me, however when met with resistance, I would refocus citing circumstances beyond my control for the change in direction.   I suffered from disappointment and discouragement which only grew over the years never able to enjoy the present for I always lived for the future.

Today a grandmother in her seventies I look back over the years and realize it was never about the destination, it was all about the journey.

 

Do You Have a Map?

If you were traveling through a hostile country where death could be waiting around the next bend in the road, what would you give for a reliable map that would lead you to safety?  We are all on a spiritual journey through uncharted territory.  It began with the first breath and will end with the final breath.

What does your journey look like?  Are you mindlessly traveling through this life without a compass, or do you look to others to show you the way?  I would imagine there are many different ideas as to what your journey should look like, however, you are the one who will make the choices and experience the consequences.  That said, where do you go for direction?

An overwhelming majority of citizens in our country believe the information you need is found in the Judeo Christian Bible. Most individuals who read the Bible believe it contains the word of God; either literal or at least inspired. However, according to ‘Who Reads the Bible and Why’ by David Briggs,  two-thirds of those who do not read it, share the same opinion.

Do you believe as do most Americans that the scriptures contain the answers to life?  That it is a reliable map to follow?

 

Who are you following?

Who are you following?  Who are you listening to? Who do you go to for answers to spiritual questions?  Who are you trying to please? If you answer truthfully you will know who you are following.

I don’t want to offend anyone but Jesus Christ (Yeshua) is no longer on earth, and if you are taking directions from man you may wind up in the swamp. Christ was perfect ,no sin was found in Him, He is our example.   Where did we get the idea that as believers we needed man to guide us?  God has provided all the instruction required to live a godly life.  His Word and His Spirit.  The Word is a lamp unto your feet, ( Psalms 119:5) and His spirit will guide you into all truth (John 16:13).

The WCE reports there are over 30,000 different Protestant Dominations today.  This number is disputed by many for various reasons. However, anything over one is too many.  The World Christian Encyclopedia by Barrett,  defines “denomination” as:

An organized aggregate of worship centers or congregations of similar ecclesiastical tradition within a specific country … whose component congregations and members are called by the same denominational name in different areas, regarding themselves as one autonomous Christian church distinct from other denominations, churches, and traditions.

Scripture bears out the fact there is one body, one spirit, one Lord, one faith and one God. (Eph 4:4-6) So why are there so many different denominations?  Could it be because each denomination has been formed by and is lead by man, embracing doctrines derived from their personal interpretation of scripture? This is not to say all Christian leaders are in error.  There are faithful people in all denominations. However, do you want to base your spiritual life on the understanding of natural man? God does not accept excuses for ignorance of His word.  You are responsible for your walk with God based on the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of scripture to you personally.

I’m not saying that membership in local fellowships are wrong they can and should be very encouraging and supportive of one another.  It is when the individual believer lays aside the Bible and follows the instructions of the groups’ leaders alone that problems ensue.  You are an individual; God deals with you as an individual, only God can lead you in the path He created for you.

This article is intended for believers only – especially new believers.  The only access the unbeliever has to the Holy Spirit is when the Spirit convicts him of sin and his need of salvation.  When an unbeliever accepts the witness of the Holy Spirit and accepts the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus Christ on his behalf, the Spirit takes up residence in the body of that individual and will guide you into all truth. Who are you following?

I know I need to study scripture but it just doesn’t make any sense to me.

“Through a diligent study of God’s Word, under the guidance of His Spirit, you’ll drop a strong anchor that will hold in the storms of life.  You will know your God.  And when you know your God, not only will you be strong, but you will do great exploits for Him.”        Daniel 11:32           ~ Kay Arthur

Many times believers give up on studying their Bible citing an inability to comprehend the message of scripture.  This can lead to the belief that something is wrong with them spiritually.  This is not at all true.  Studding  scripture is a lifelong process. It’s not possible for the human mind to comprehend the truths of scripture all at once.  It’s a process and must take place over a period of time – precept upon precept.

“For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:”  Isaiah 28:10 (KJV)

While acquired knowledge of the Bible is an ongoing process, there are various study methods that have been developed to improve and enhance comprehension.  Years ago I visited the campus of Precepts International in Chattanooga, Tennessee. While there I learned the Inductive Bible Study method. Using the tools of Inductive study,  opened up the Word of God and completely changed the way I view scripture.

Inductive study doesn’t tell you what the Bible means or what you should believe.  Instead, it teaches you a method of studying that can be applied to any portion of Scripture at any time for the rest of your life.  It’s not difficult and can keep you out of the swamp.

If you long to know God and the truths of His Word, you must do more than merely read the Bible or accept what someone else has said about it.  You must interact with God’s Word personally, absorbing its message and letting God engrave His truth on your heart and mind and life.  That is the very heart of inductive study: seeing the truth for yourself, discerning what it means, and applying that truth to your life.

For more information on the Inductive study method get Kay Arthur’s Book on how to study your Bible. Available on Amazon through the link below.

How to Study Your Bible

Nothing goes unseen!

You may not realize it but you are writing a book, a book about your life. Every thought, word, or deed is recorded good or bad.  Your book is being read as you write it.  By your children, spouse, neighbors, friends, and everyone you come in contact with.  What are you saying?  At the end of the day are those who crossed your path stronger?  Do they look forward to your uplifting smile, attitude of thankfulness or the warmth of your presence?

We are born and we die.  That fact alone is hardly significant, it is what happens between those two dates that will change the world. That’s right everyone’s story will change their world for better or worse.

It’s not possible to re-write yesterday.  What messages did you send to the people around you?  You may not have a tomorrow – who knows the length of a lifetime?  Over today only do you have control – write well for life only moves in one direction.

James 4:14

Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.

The Dash by Linda Ellis

A poem by Linda Ellis called ‘The Dash’ speaks volumes concerning the book we are all writing.  Follow above link to read copyrighted poem.

Know What You Believe and Why You Believe it!

What’s so important about studying Scripture?

The ability to skillfully use God’s Word is vital to making sound decisions. Decisions that not only affect you but those who look to you for guidance. God seeks to reveal Himself to his creation through the scriptures.  Both the Old and New Testaments were written by holy men instructed by the Holy Spirit.  It is amazing that a book thousands of years old has been and still is, relevant to all generations.  It contains  God’s plan of redemption and constant guidance to the redeemed.

Over the years, many have struggled with reconciling the teachings of the Old Testament with the new.     God never contradicts himself.  What was true in the Old Testament is still true in the New.   A good method for studying the scriptures is the “analogy of faith.” It is a Reformed Hermeneutical principle which states that, since all scriptures are harmoniously united with no essential contradictions, therefore, every proposed interpretation of any passage must be compared with what the other parts of the Bible teach.

“The New Testament is concealed in the Old, and the Old is revealed in the New”  St. Augustine

God has preserved his message down through thousands of years, many translations, languages, and peoples.  So why aren’t more people interested in studying this personal message from God?  For the same reason, Adam sinned in the garden.  The same reason Christ was crucified.  The same reason the Israelites rebelled against God.  Satan, the enemy of God, has been and still is fighting against God to usurp his power and authority.

It will never be easy to study God’s Word.  It will require commitment, dedication, and perseverance. However as a believer, you will never do anything in this life that is more important.  We are foreigners traveling through a hostile land.  The only reliable compass made available to us is God’s Word.  You can rest assured Satan will do any and everything in his power to keep you from this vital information.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine(teaching) is not mine, but his that sent me (God).  If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.   Genesis 2:16-17  

 

 

Women’s Ministry or Misery

I have been in women’s ministry for 20 plus years. During that time I have listened to numerous speakers, read many books and attended a wide variety of functions. I almost always came away with the feeling I had been cheated. The excitement would be high, well known speakers, great music and a healthy ticket price.  However, I  usually left disappointed.

I finally accepted the fact that I was the piece of the puzzle that didn’t fit.  Everyone else seemed content with the way things were so it must be me.  Then I ran across this quote on Facebook by Sarah Bessey.

“I’m here tonight because I want what the world cannot give me.  We are chocking on cutesy things and crafty bits, safe lady topics and if one more person says that modest is hottest with a straight face, I may throw up.  We are hungry for authenticity and vulnerability.  Not ‘churchified’ life hacks from lady magazines.  Some of us are drowning, suffocating, dying of thirst for want of the cold water of  real community.  We’re trying really hard, – after all we keep showing up to your lady events and we leave feeling just a bit empty.

We are seeking deep spirituality. We are seeking fellow travelers. We are hungry for true community, a place to tell our stories and listen to another, to love well. But above all, point me to Jesus – not to the sale at the mall.” ~Sarah Bessey

Thank you, Sarah!  Perhaps I’m not crazy after all.

Visit Sarah at  Sarah Bessey

Are there others out there that feel the same?

Know What You Believe and Why You Believe it!

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