With grateful hearts, we share our thoughts on redemption through Jesus Christ and His saving blood and what it looks like in our daily walk.

We gladly welcome your comments and input.
AND since we hold our conservative values dear, we might have a thing or two to say about politics... and we can almost guarantee it won't be politically correct.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

School of the Holy Spirit

In the days of my youth (in God) it was quite common for me to spread out all my Bibles and concordances on the kitchen table and spend hours doing word studies. I had an insatiable appetite for learning how to become the image of God on the outside. I knew what He had done on the inside but living it out is sometimes a whole other story. God ministered to me in such miraculous ways for many years while getting me grounded in foundational truths of the Bible.

Now I sit at my computer and use on-line references. Biblegateway even parallels any number of translations for me without my ever turning a page.

Word Studies
Word studies are a great way to get God’s thinking and heart on a given subject. I'll share one way this works for me.

If I am having a particularly difficult time grasping or (more likely) living out a Biblical truth that serves as a clue to me I need to spend more time in scriptures having to do with that truth or topic. For instance… there was a time I looked up every Greek word in I Cor. 13: 1-8. I wrote them all down (on paper at the time) and cross-referenced other scriptures having to do with God’s love. Then I looked up (and typed out) those verses in every translation of the Bible I had at the time. I ran across that typed out document yesterday and it brought back a lot of memories. I used that document for years to quote out loud to my own heart and head! It served as a tool for getting those truths deep in my heart where they became a part of me instead of words on the written page.
I can’t tell you how many relationships and situations that background has saved me. I was moved to go to all that extended study during a very difficult time in my marriage. At the time I knew I had to make some changes. One thing that has proven out over and over in my Christian life is when I wish someone else would change, it always comes back to me that needs to make some changes. Besides that, I've learned (sometimes better than others) that I AM THE ONLY ONE I CAN CHANGE. Spending my time mulling over God's words to me of His precious love FOR me is a doorway into the spirit realm. From there, you don't want to put any limits on God to lead you into worship and prayer that will miraculously change and adjust things on the inside. Things we don't even know need to be adjusted. That's just how He works when given the opening. That's why it's spiritual! Spiritual things are difficult to describe but they are the most real changes one can make. And when it is the Spirit of God doing the changing the results are always right and good and true and ... lasting.
Back to word study...

This method is so valuable and has taught me how to rely on God’s word and His Holy Spirit for the power to ‘be’ who/what God has given me the ability to be and called me to be. The Holy Spirit is our helper AND our teacher but we have to let Him be those things to us by using the tools God has given us.
We can't really expect that attending one or two church services a week is enough to go against the tide of carnality and worldliness we are faced with daily. We have to open our hearts to God every day and allow Him access to everything we are if we seriously want to make changes.
There certainly are many ways to learn God's word on our own. For me, I couldn't have made it through some of the circumstances life has thrown my way without roots firmly planted in God and revelation of His character. It has been my anchor in the midst of every trial.

What about you? Do you have ways you draw closer to God? What methods do you use to study God's word?


marmee said...

just getting quiet, and alone is a good time for me to hear what the HS is trying to teach me. i love to meditate with the most recent scriptures in my heart and let the quietness and nature around me speak to the deepest part of me.

also, i find that gardening is a constant reminder of what i am being molded into. there is an ebb and flow to the garden that mimics us as fragile living beings.

serious/silly/me said...

Meems, you talking to ME?!?!

pilgrim said...

This is a late comment, I know, but I have been reading and rereading your post almost daily. You have made so many good points and I can identify with them all.

I will say that first and foremost is just getting the Holy Word (Bible) into me. Just sitting, reading and meditating on the written word acquaints me with the scriptures, whether I totally understand it all or not. I must familiarize myself with the revelation of who God is and His plan for mankind as a whole, but most especially for me as an heir of His salvation. David stated in Ps. 119:16-18 "I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your Word. Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live; and I will observe Your word (hearing, receiving, loving and obeying it). Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law." So many are struggling to live as a Christian without a real knowledge of God's Word. It is nearly impossible. One may profit from going to church and hearing the Word preached, but the real strength for day to day living comes from the whole Word being planted in your recreated spirit. Again in Ps. 119:11 David says "Your Word have I laid up in my heart, that I may not sin against You".

Another method for me, (not to exclude the Word studies you have laid out), is cross-referencing many scriptures on the same subject as I am stirred by the Holy Spirit in my daily reading. This sounds like what you've stated, but I mean without the in-depth study at the time. Just confirming the same Word in many places in the Bible testifies to the nature/character of God as being consistent throughout the many books of the Bible. This helps me better know and trust God without any doubt or question of Who He is as revealed by the scriptures.

For me, praise and worship of, to and for God opens my heart to let the Word sink into my innermost being. I cannot praise Him unless I am deeply aware of who He really is. I cannot exalt Him in my heart and life, unless I have learned all I can of Him as revealed by His Word. But in opening my mouth to sing of His goodness, mercy and grace, in scriptural songs, takes me to another whole dimension of spirit-to-spirit connection that I don't experience in any other way.

Finally, putting the Word into action in my day to day situations, cements the accuracy and truth of God's Word. Faith in your heart will never become a reality until put to the test. One can study, memorize, and quote the Bible, but until you test the veracity of how it applys to you personally, and gain the victory through its power, you will never be set totally free. Jesus said, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth". John 17:17 "If you abide in My Word - hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them - you are truly My disciples. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free". John 8:31,32

marmee said...

great post and great follow up mom!
you two are both my role models and i appreciate the depth of knowledge you both lend to my life. thank you both for being so dedicated to living out what is in the word. i love the fact that we are all so different but can glean off of each other's experiences. God has been good to us, to our families. i love you sis!
i love you mom!

Meems said...

marmee: I feel ya on gardening teaching us great lessons of how the kingdom of God works. Jesus used the natural ways of life to make his stories come to life.

AND thanks for the kind words in your follow-up comment. One of the greatest things about being a believer (and family is a bonus) is learning from each other. Giving and pouring into each other's lives to help grow each other up in God... until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God (Eph 4:13). This is a burning passion inside me.

s/s/m: I hope so. I hope every reader takes something away from what we share from our hearts. :-)

pilgrim: No comment is too late. We appreciate "readers" AND "commenters" and you get bonus points for both!

I love that you brought out cross-referencing scriptures as you go... the Holy Spirit has a way of doing that when once we get started with the Bible open! That's why it is SO important to OPEN ONE'S BIBLE. It is a great starting place... and then the Holy Spirit has access to our hearts and minds for adjustments, changes, and pulling down strongholds.

AND... another BIG amen (SO KEY)to this statement you made...
But in opening my mouth to sing of His goodness, mercy and grace, in scriptural songs, takes me to another whole dimension of spirit-to-spirit connection that I don't experience in any other way.

pilgrim said...

Sweet words Marmee - how blessed we are to be in the family of God together, and in an earthly family too. "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth." 3 John 3

Meems - it is a blessing to share your depth of knowledge from all the years of your "seeking first the kingdom of God". Thank you for your contributions to Walk Wisely. You are speaking truth from a strong foundation of "study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of God". 2 Tim. 2:15

Love you both so much!

Nathan Talbot said...

This was some great stuff by all who shared. Thanks for the post and the comments.