The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than two-edged sword.... Hebrews 4:12
Last night was the first night of Pursuing More of Jesus bible study by Anne Graham Lotz. It is a study that I would have never chosen, but I feel so strongly the Holy Spirit led me to this study. After months and months of prayer, I knew when I picked it up that I had felt the Holy Spirit. But every time I would look at the pages in the study guide, my flesh would tell me "no, this can't be the study, your girls won't like this study, the pages are completely blank except for one or two scriptures". It is totally Holy Spirit led. After the study had been purchased and the class was beginning to fill up, my flesh rose up inside of me and gave me so much doubt. We truly have a merciful God! Let me share what he did to give me peace. My twelve year old daughter came running into my room one day and said to me "Mom, I think God woke me up last night and told me which study you are supposed to do!" Now she knew how much we had been praying for the answer but she had no idea that we had already purchased the study Pursuing More of Jesus. I looked at her puzzled and she said "Mom, you are supposed to do a bible study on the Gospel of John!" I have to tell you I couldn't believe what she had just said. I looked at her like I had seen a ghost. I said "Gracie, that is the study we are doing! The Pursuing More of Jesus study is only on the Gospel of John!!!" Can you believe that? Confirmation. God can use anyone and anything to speak to his children. But the primary way is through his word. Even for our prayers to be effective we have to know his word!!!
I feel that God is showing me so much lately. I walk around all the time talking about how much closer I want to get to God but never doing anything about it. It's like I want all the benefits that God can bring to my life but I don't want to put in the effort it takes to know him better. I like the easy. Remember Amy and I like to stay in the pit. It is comfortable, familiar. We like it there because it is easy. Satan doesn't mess with us as bad if we stay in our pit. But when we get the courage to climb out and try pursuing Jesus again, Satan is there like a roaring lion waiting to devour us at any moment.
If we REALLY want to know God, if we REALLY want to understand who we are and whose we are, then the Bible has to have the highest priority in our lives. That is basically what the Pursuing More of Jesus study is all about. I understand why God wanted me to do this study now. It is time we stop reading other people's thoughts and what they say they heard from God. It is time for us to sit down with our bibles open , start out with prayer and get to know God. If it is our purpose to glorify God in all our ways then we have to know him first. Did you know that the Holy Spirit our comforter plays such a big role in our lives. I don't know about you but I feel so comfortable talking with Jesus. When it comes to God, I feel like I have a huge respect for him and I really don't want to get on his bad side. LOL.. But seriously the Holy Spirit, I don't feel like I know him and what his role is supposed to be in our lives. Let me share some of the wisdom that Anne Graham Lotz has shared in her DVDs in our class.
She showed us her bible and through her bible she had pictures of her Dad "Billy Graham"; and then there were lots of pictures of her grandchildren. She said every time she opened her bible and saw those pictures it reminded her to pray for them. Then she explained that when you or I open our bible there are pictures of Jesus all the way through scripture. It is the Holy Spirit's job as we read God's word to show us the pictures. That we might see Him, know Him, love Him. That we might even lay our lives down before him and live our lives in obedience to him not because we have to but because we love Him... Isn't that beautiful? So read your bible and look at the pictures of Jesus fall out before your very eyes!
So I invite you to join me in a pursuit of Jesus! You can start right now today. You do not have to be in this study, I will outline everything that Anne has taught us in her study. You can pick any scripture you want and apply these five steps and I promise you God will speak through his word to you.
Please just try this and comment back and let me know how it is going and if you have any questions or if you don't understand one of the steps.
First before you start anything spend some time in prayer with the Lord, ASK for the Holy Spirit's help with getting to know Jesus better through his word.
(You will need a notebook, bible, pen, highlighter)
Begin by picking a scripture any scripture that you love etc. Today I worked on John 10:1 because that was the scripture for us in our study guide. Take only one or two scriptures to begin with. Your goal is not to get through as much scripture as you can but to pick a scripture and spend time with it and to listen to hear Jesus speak. Let the Holy spirit do His work!
Then after you have your scripture read it and reread, take your notebook and open it to your first page and write the time and date in the upper right hand corner. Then write your scripture down in your notebook.
example: John 10:1
I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate; but climbs in by some other way is a thief and a robber.
When you have finished step one, make a verse by verse list of the outstanding facts. Don't get caught up into details; just pinpoint the most obvious facts. Don't PARAPHRASE, but use actual words from the passage itself. We want to be very careful that we don't add anything to the word of God. Look at just the facts; look for nouns, verbs, person, place or thing. Get rid of prepositions etc.
example: Man who does not enter by the gate is a thief and robber.
After reading the lesson and listing the facts, look for a lesson to learn from each fact.
Ask yourself: What are the people doing in the passage that I should be doing?
Is there a command I should obey?
A promise I should claim?
A warning I should heed?
An example I should follow?
Focus on the spiritual lessons (remember there is no right or wrong answer). These examples are what I heard God speaking to me. Yours will be different. His word is ALIVE and it applies to whatever is going on in your life. God will make it relevant!
example: There is only one way to heaven!!! It is through the gate; and that gate is JESUS!! Jesus is the gate!!! Is that not amazing!
This exercise blows me away; it works! God will speak to you if you are seeking him in his word.
This is the most meaningful step, you can't do it effectively until you have completed the first three steps. Rephrase the lesson you found in step 3 and put them in the form of questions you could ask YOURSELF, YOUR SPOUSE, YOUR CHILD, YOUR FRIEND, YOUR NEIGHBOR, OR YOUR COWORKER. As you write these questions, listen for God to communicate to you through his Word.
Don't get caught up on what you don't understand. Just look for the general principle and lessons that can be learned. Don't rush through this. BE STILL AND LISTEN FOR GOD TO SPEAK! This is where you can have prayerful meditation to discover meaningful lessons and hear God speaking to you.
example: Do I believe that the prince of this Earth is waiting like a roaring lion to kill, destroy, and devour me?
If you have time look up John 10:10; I did not read it until after I had wrote this. WOW!!!
The last step is to live it out; how will you respond to God's Word?
example: I am going to stay under God's wing for protection. I will not look to man for protection or the things of this world.
Just record what God is saying to you, and your response to him. Which response stood out to you? Then hold yourself accountable to follow through in obedience.
Sorry this has been such a long post; but I have to end this in prayer.
Father I just praise you for this wonderful way to learn to be still and hear you speak. Thank you so much for choosing this study. I pray that anyone reading this will give it a try and experience the awesome power of the Holy Spirit. We long for more of you. Give us the hunger and the desire to seek more of you. We want more than salvation; we want to be disciples for you. Use us Father. Let it be your will on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus' name. Amen.
pursuing more of Jesus,