I Do Hard Things – Bible Study

1 01 2015

Havilah Cunnington has an excellent Bible study on how to do hard things. Join me for the next 20 days as she gives food to grow by! You can find this free study on her website: http://havilahcunnington.com/. If you like the first one, click on the “Subscribe” button in the menu bar.

(I purchased the PDF of her workbook [$9] so I could actually do the Bible study…first one I’ve done in a year. Yay, God!)

Havilah has been a guest speaker at our church, and I appreciate her passion for the Lord – and to empower people to live fully alive. I think you’ll enjoy this study.

 





More of You

16 01 2014

The year was 2006, and I had invited some friends to join me in Beth Moore’s study, Beloved Disciple.

It had been a rough 15 months since my mom moved to heaven. It seemed like everything had changed.

One of my last memories with Mom was reading to her from 2 Corinthians 4 in preparation for her departure. Although neither of us said so, we both knew she would be leaving soon.

She ‘graduated’ a short two days later.

Then, I did something interesting. I took the Bible I’d read from and put it on the shelf. I couldn’t say why, but there it was, and there it stayed.

Meanwhile, I continued to listen to sermons on cassette (remember those?). Every Sunday I went to church…without my Bible. I continued to talk to the Lord – just didn’t want to read His Book!

When I decided to do Beth’s study, I had a situation. How does one complete a Bible study without a Bible?

There seemed only one thing to do. I went to the book store and bought a new one.

At that time, I did not feel loved at all. Like I said, it had been a very rough time. Within two months, I would also be bidding my step-father and brother farewell. Because of their own grief, my children did not come home for holidays, which made my mom’s absence that much harder to endure. Other relationship issues had taken their toll as well.

As an act of faith, I had my name engraved on the Bible’s cover. Oh, not that I didn’t know my name; it is what I had written beneath it that was risky.

Later that day, I picked up my new “Friend.” There in gold letters against the black background was the boldest statement I would ever make to the world:

Tami – Beloved of God

I carried it home and set some books on top. I didn’t want anyone to see what I’d done.

At the beginning of the Beloved Disciple Bible study, I told the Lord:

You see what I have written here. I don’t believe it…not even a little. By the end of this study, I want to know in the same way as John did that I am Your beloved child.

God is so faithful!

While I did not have the depth of assurance that I longed for, I began to understand the Lord’s love for me.

For ME!

Meanwhile, whenever I took my Bible with me, I always kept the cover hidden. I was embarrassed, afraid that others would put me down for thinking ‘so highly of myself.’ Or might point out all the reasons why I was unlovable.

It would be two more years before I was able to confidently state that God loved me.

I love that Bible. It became like my Teddy bear – and often I would sleep with it snuggled in my arms. Mind you, it wasn’t the Book itself that captured my heart, but the Lord of the Book.

In the years since that time, my confidence in God’s love has grown to proportions I never dared dream were possible.

Through this, I’ve come to understand that while we state that we want more of God, the truth is that He wants more of us…that’s why He created us!

By the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross – and His resurrection – we have the opportunity to be in communion with our Father in the same way as Adam and Eve did before the Fall. The finished work of Christ opened the way for us to be in relationship with God – something few people of the Old Testament were able to enjoy.

He loves us with everlasting love – and therefore has drawn us with lovingkindness. Do we even begin to comprehend His great love?

Why not make this the year that one of our resolutions will be that God will have more of us? It may take a bit of work; after all, who gives themselves over to a God they don’t trust?

Ask Him to transform you by renewing your mind concerning what you believe to be true about Him. After all, Jesus said that when we know truth, then that truth can set us free!

Eight years later (from what seems like a lifetime ago), I am going through Beloved Disciple again. This time it is with fresh eyes. This time I know in my ‘knower’ that I am loved. I can’t wait to see what He has in store this time through. I know the Lord well enough to know that it will be good!

Lord, 

We always ask for more of you. In this request, we realize that we’ve been a bit one-sided. 

‘Gimme, gimme’ is our cry.  However, in order for a relationship to work well, it must be give and take. 

Sadly, we do not trust you – and so stand at a distance from You. We are happy to receive, but afraid of what You might ask of us if we draw closer.

Help us know You better, to learn what Your heart is like, and to move from dreadful fear to reverential awe and confidence that You are for us – not against us.

May this be the year that we give You more of ourselves as we receive fresh revelation of Your nature.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

\o/ 





Jesus Found In Egyptian Prison!

5 07 2013

“I found Jesus! I found Him!” I told Wendel while I danced a little hip-hoppity jig around the kitchen.

He raised an eyebrow and cocked his head. His expression said, “And…?”

“I found Him in the prison in Egypt!”

“What??” He asked. A look of confusion crossed his face.

“Jesus said that the entire Bible is written about Him. I was reading about Joseph, and asked the Lord to show me how Joe’s story was about Him. He did!” I said, and continued to dance.

I love to “dig for treasure” in the Word. The only treasure worth finding is Jesus, so that’s who I look for. I’ve found Him in many of the Old Testament stories. This delights me more than finding gold. Gold can be spent, and then will be gone. A Bible treasure is mine forever!

Chuck Missler first clued me into this, and I’m so thankful. One of the things he (and some others) said is that Joseph’s life was a “type” of Christ in over 100 ways. Not wanting to take their word for it, I got out my Bible and began to make my way through Joseph’s life. Here are a few things I saw as I studied:

Beloved son

Despised and rejected

Seamless robe

Homeless

Put in the ground and left for dead

Falsely accused

I worked through the details until I came to Joseph’s stay in prison. Two of his cell mates had dreams. One was the cupbearer and the other the baker. The next morning, Joseph noticed that they looked sad and asked, “What’s up?”

“We each had a strange dream last night. There’s no one to tell us what they mean.”

Joseph said, “Hey, God interprets dreams. Tell me what your dreams were. He’ll explain it to me so I can tell you.”

The cup bearer went first. His was a dream about  a grapevine, the fruit pressed and put into Pharaoh’s cup. After this, the cup bearer put the cup into Pharaoh’s hands.

Joseph gave the interpretation immediately: “Good news! In three days you go back to work.”

The baker stood by, and listened to the interaction. The interpretation given to the other fellow encouraged him to share his dream next.

His dream was about bread in a basket on his head for Pharaoh. Birds came and ate the bread out of the topmost basket.

With a grimace, Joe said, “Wow. Sucks to be you! In three days, you’ll be dead; afterward, the birds will eat the flesh off your bones.”

The interpretations were accurate, and all took place as Joseph had declared.

Here’s the thing. In this story we have three players: Joseph, the cup bearer, and the baker. Let’s look at the last two.

A cup bearer would taste food and drink given to Pharaoh to ensure that it was not poisoned. He served the ruler. We get a clue about what he gave to Pharaoh by his title: cup bearer. The beverage in the cup was most likely wine.

The baker – no brainer here – baked bread.

Hmm. Wine and bread…remind you of anything?

Here’s where it gets interesting.

The baker was killed…Jesus’ body was broken for us.

The cup bearer was reinstated…because He lives, we have eternal life.

Like I said, this kind of treasure doesn’t “spend,” but it sure warms my heart. The more I read the stories of the Bible in search of Jesus, the more  I realize the entire book is tightly woven. When I take into account the various writers, their professions, and the time span in which the Bible was written, I am in awe of the God of the Bible. Every detail bears significance and fits into the whole of the 40 books written by 66 authors over the span of a few thousand years.

The Bible itself is a miracle when viewed in this light!

Does this seem contrived to you? If a fore-shadow (type) of Jesus were found in only one story, perhaps I would agree; but try it for yourself. Choose any story from the Bible. Ask the Lord to show you what it tells about Jesus. Then wait, expecting to receive.

You never know where you’ll find Jesus!