"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Show Us Your Life: Favorite Bible Studies

I am so excited about this SUYL.  I have never participated before, but this is one that I want to join in on.

I have been blessed to be a part of some amazing bible studies, some in a group, some on my own, and some with just Nick and me.  I have also been in some that felt like a total waste of time. 

I really want everyone who reads this to understand what made these so amazing, and to do that, I shouldn’t overwhelm people with a long post… but I could only narrow it down to four LIFE CHANGING bibles studies that I have done. Sorry folks… I hope someone sticks around to read about all of them!

I mentioned this one before, and it is a must for any Christian… it is not a bible study to tell how to be a better (fill in the blank) or the plans that God has for YOUR life. 

Nope.

This bible study is all about HIM!

My favorite thing about this bible study is how clear it made the bible to me.  It no longer felt like a discombobulated collection of books about God… it made it so clear that God is purposeful and intentional and He has only one passion – to make His Name great among the nations.  And to do that, He must draw all people back to him!

So how does he do it?  Through us, His church, yes…

But he does it in extraordinary ways that we never realized and that we certainly don’t learn about in school.  It was so cool to learn how God has been working throughout history to “knead the dough and spread the yeast thin.” 

Sometimes when Christians get too comfortable and stop going on their own, he up and makes them move to a land of unbelievers!  How many Christians do you know that have moved overseas recently? Winking smile

Or he brings the lost to Christians.  How many nonbelieving ethnicities have moved the United States?

Probably my second favorite thing about the class were the missionaries that visited the class to share their amazing stories!  My favorite was an old man who evangelized a native Mexican tribe that could communicate through only whistles (they also had a spoken language)… I am not kidding.  He did a demonstration for us in class of a conversation in whistles!  It was just so out-of-control COOL.  It also made me glad that I was not called to minster to that particular people group since I cannot whistle to save my life.

Anyway, this Bible Study is just the best!  And it gave me such a purpose. And it revealed to me God’s greatest passion.  Seriously y’all, go find a class NOW!

Ok, so I have made it pretty clear that I think a lot of bible studies are so full of fluff stuff because they tend to be too inner-self focused instead of God-focused.  This bible study is kind of one of those, it is about helping yourself, but it helps you by drawing your thoughts away from yourself and towards the King of Kings.

I never realized just what a “fear of man” that I had until I did this bible study.  I actually didn’t even know what “fear of man” was, and I definitely had absolutely no understanding of it meant to biblically fear the Lord.

It had always been described to me as “respect” of the Lord, which I now think is total hogwash, and I am actually a little angry that it was described to me that way.  To respect a loving God left too much room in my life for the opinions of other. To fear a loving God is to care for His opinions and His alone.

The bible talks a lot about the “fear of the Lord” and it is always considered a very good thing.  It is the beginning of wisdom. It is pure, enduring forever. It is to hate evil.

Conversely the bible calls the “fear of man” a snare.  It is bad, bad, bad.

Sometimes we don’t even realize how much we are controlled by the opinions of others or how much we esteem their opinions of us over God’s opinions of us. This book helped me get to place where I could truly say “In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

It is such a difficult concept and book to summarize, but you can find a great summary of it right here.  Here is a little excerpt from it:  

I had began reading Welch's book with the presumption that this book was going to be typical of "Christian" counseling books, writing in the margin at the end of chapter one that this book was all about "me" or "us" and not about God. By the time I'd read halfway through chapter three that notion was thoroughly dispelled. … In chapter four Welsh dives into another aspect of the sinful fear of others rather than God. ... Welch uses Abraham and Moses as illustration of men who at times feared other men but only were they truly blessed when the Almighty was firmly the subject and object of both their fear and admiration.

This was such an amazing, meaty bible study.  I came out of it so changed and so unafraid and so FREE.  It was awesome.

Best marriage bible study EVER.  And believe me I have done more than my share.  Nick and I were a little addicted to marriage groups for a while Smile.

Do yourself a favor, skip the rest, jump straight to this one.  This one makes it so easy to understand the root of all of your conflicts as a married couple (***Spoiler alert – the root has to do with LOVE and RESPECT!***), and also gives you some great concrete tips on how to navigate conflict in your marriage.

Also, its fun!  Dr. Eggerich is so funny.  He will keep you laughing throughout the whole thing. 

Even if you have a good marriage, which I think Nick and I had before; taking this will eliminate most of your fights!  On the flip side, you can also use what you learn to wound your partner even more deeply, that is how powerful it is.  But we don’t use it that way, and  I am so thankful for this bible study; it made us so much stronger!

So I won’t go too deep into this one, but this is a book that Nick and I read together, and this book helped us to grow our faith to conceive Isla. 

If you have read the book and know how our birth went, then you know that there were some things that I had difficulty “believing” in a biblical sense because I felt like some of them were extrapolating the word of God a little too much.

But there were some things that I had no difficulty believing because it is in the word of God, plain as the nose on my face.  Through this book, Nick and I made the leap to believe the word of God no matter how difficult it might be for us to believe or understand.  We chose to believe that God could be trusted in His Word, that He could be trusted when He promised that “there would be none barren among His people” or that He would “make the barren woman to keep house, and be a joyful mother of children”.

And one week later, we found out that we were pregnant after 2 years of passively trying, another 2 years of aggressively trying, dozens of pregnancy tests, fertility tests (some of them so painful), 2 failed fertility cycles, tears, bruised knees… oh my, I hate to think back on that time!

But after all of that, I now fully believe that God means what he says “My words are TRUSTWORTHY and TRUE!”  He really means it.  He is SO faithful. And best of all, I can give all of the glory for Isla to HIM Smile.

Summary

So there you have it!  These were the four best bible studies I have ever done.  I sincerely hope that at least one person finds some blessing in this list.  In any case, it has been fun to reflect back on them and thank God for using them to reveal Himself to me. He is so awesome!

1 comment:

  1. You have Debbie and I excited about Love and Respect, thanks for all the information, love you lots, mom

    ReplyDelete

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