Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blessing: Bible Study

I've been a "saved" Christian for about 8 years now.  I've never really been good about reading the bible on a regular basis. Mostly, I think, because I have a hard time comprehending many parts of it.  I know it's key to a fulfilling spiritual life but I still always find 1,000 distractions.  I am one to start initiatives (usually at the beginning of each year) and within weeks or sometimes even days, I've fallen off the bible-reading bandwagon.  I don't intend to be like that....but life always seems to get in the way.

I've learned that in order for me to stick with my commitment to reading the bible, I do better if I have a bible study group to discuss it with.  When I moved to Newell, I joined a bible study of young women.  We took some time off last spring and summer but for the most part, we meet on a weekly basis.  I'm thankful for this.  I'm thankful for these ladies and for the talented authors who write the books we've been able to use to guide our study.  I LOVE the book we're studying now.  It's called Becoming a Woman of Simplicity by Cynthia Heald.

It's amazing.  Cynthia is truly a talented author and the book she wrote has a way of making me crave reading it and the bible on a daily basis.  There are so many life truths in this book.  I highly recommend it.  Here are a few of the truths that have hit home with me so far (up to chapter 3) in Becoming a Woman of Simplicity:
  • Grace greatly simplifies our lives 
  • When we abide and concentrate on the Lord, He renews our strength and we are led and equipped to do what He desires for us.
  • Good works are part of God's plan.  They are not the price of salvation, but the proof. (John Phillips)
  • If any service begins to replace my spending time with God or if I become overly burdened and burned out, I need to reevaluate my ministry.
  • (1 John 5:19)--The world around us is under control of the evil one.

    The evil one delights in distracting us--whether is's preoccupation with abundance of possessions or filling the world with technology (convicted!!) that leaves little time to rest quiet in green meadows.
  •  Cynthia does an awesome job of bringing in different verses from the bible, even in different translations.  Here's a translation from The Message bible.  
    • Galatians vs 14 as this: "For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ.  Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate."
  • At the end of each chapter, Cynthia shares a bit called Thoughts from an Older Woman.  Here are a few tidbits shared from this section in chapter 3 titled ""The World is Too Much With Us":
      • "My concern is that because the world is too much with us, we easily forfeit the blessing of living a God-paced life that has time for solitude and respite away from our noisy world.   It's our time spent quietly in His presence that transforms our minds and renews our strength to go back into the world to be the woman He wants us to be."
      • "Less stuff means more time."
      • Luke 12:15 Beware! Guard against every kind of greed.  Life is not measured by how much you own.
Also at the end of each chapter, Cynthia writes a small section prompting reflecting.  At the end of the chapter I just talked about, she writes " Take time to let the Lord speak to you about how you relate to the world or allow the world to conform you to its way of doing things.  Write down your insights...

Here are my personal convictions/insights after reading this chapter:
  • I am so VERY easily distracted by things of the world.  This chapter was very, VERY convicting for me.  
  • Something that has been heavy on my mind (and honestly distracting me solitude with God) is our housing situation.
  • The dream of building a house sounds fabulous...who wouldn't want to do that?  I would LOVE to build a house but after spending almost the entire summer looking at housing plans, getting pricing from several different's going to be very expensive.  Sure, we could probably get the financing to do it, but is it what is best for our family?  Most importantly, is it what GOD wants us to do?  
  • I feel very convicted after reading this chapter that I need to set building aside for now.  It's not for us at the present time.  Right now, it's a distraction and God is speaking very clearly to me that it's not His plan for us right now.
P.S.  I read this chapter the week after we found out the property we are renting got sold and we'd have to move.  It was stressful, yet an eyeopening experience.  We try to remember that it's not "our" plan,'s God's plan and that this must be all part of His plan.