|Revised to include a few pictures at the bottom of the entry.Saw something in the New York Times in an article about a prison program on entrepreneurship – “Today’s a gift, that’s why they call it the present.”
I have grown to love studying God’s Word, something I never thought I would do if you had asked me five or six years ago. I am relatively new to Bible study and have been blessed to have some incredible teachers, some of whom you know, Pastor Don, Pastor Ted, people in my church, visiting pastors, books and tapes by Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, Jon Courson, Chuck Missler, Kenneth Hagin, Yancey, Piper, Stott and others that I have started studying. My Bible margins are covered with notes that I refer to when I read, and then of course my best friends are Strong’s and a dictionary. I am not a Bible scholar, I have never gone to Bible College (although I did graduate from college in my pagan days), I just share from my heart. And lately God has also been sharing ideas with me during my study times. On my last post someone used Bible College type label words (eisegesis–exegesis) about a topic that I was sharing about. I didn’t recognize the words and they kindly defined them for me. Sometimes it is easy to put a label on something if it disagrees with what you firmly believe. That has brought to mind how people become entrenched in the theories they are taught. I suppose it may be a good thing to have a theological platform to start with. But maybe the Holy Spirit will also open up the Word of God for someone based on where they are at and what their spiritual needs are. Sometimes an open mind is also a good thing. Sometimes there is more to plumb in God’s Word than what we first are taught. Each time I read His word, and in the past four years that I have been saved I must have read the Bible seven times, new and exciting ideas emerge from passages, things I never thought about before. Some readings are quick like novels, lately God has been slowing me down. My sharing of ideas, thoughts, feelings and hurts through the scripture is God’s way of having me really absorb what He is teaching me. I am glad that it blesses people, but never do I want to offend anyone of have anyone think I know more than I do. I am just learning and excited about what I am learning.
Back to Beth Moore The Patriarchs on Genesis 24
Beth focused on the servant, who sought a woman who had the character of his master’s household. She spoke about how he earnestly sought to do what his master commanded. And, I love how she milks the word for teachings that apply to our lives, often in ways that I never thought of before. She says that God used this text to remind her of how much God values excellence. On page 88 she says, “I am concerned that the maximum-load mentality of our culture could potentially turn us into minimalists. We are growing too exhausted to go the extra mile.” That extra mile is often what excellence demands and she says that maximum overload causes minimum effectiveness. Beth then gives a funny example of how many today would have refused to even give a stranger a drink of water, juggling jars, and telling him to give her a ride on the camels because her back is killing her. Beth then added, she would have gone back to her home minus the nose ring and bracelets.
But Beth also says something that impacts my heart, “Minimalists are among the very last things you and I want to be as followers of Jesus Christ.” And sometimes when I look honestly at my prayer life and my devotions, there are times when I am minimalist in what I am doing. I have much to learn, and sometimes the world takes my focus from what is most important.
Beth goes on to show the things that the servant did that showed the excellence of his work.
1. Took on his master’s burden as if it was his own.
Beth points out that, “Me-centeredness is so powerful and prevalent in our society that if we don’t deliberately fight it we will undoubtedly live it. Our church work and various expressions of personal ministries will be no exceptions.”
Beth on page 90 comments about how Laban said “This is from the Lord; we have no choice in the matter.” Beth says, “Sometimes God reveals His will so dramatically and obviously that all we have left to do is bow to Him. Opinions don’t matter. Votes are inappropriate. God has revealed His will, and that’s that. Any of us who have any lengthy history with God have most likely experienced occasions when God clearly revealed His will. The most memorable times probably involved a revelation of God’s will that might have painfully differed from our own. Let’s not minimize the personal cost of the marriage to Bethuel’s family. Certainly they wanted Rebekah to marry and to marry well, but certainly they would have preferred to keep her nearby.
And on page 91 she says, “In a world of endless options, all of us long for God to make His will crystal clear. But today’s lesson is a reminder that certainty doesn’t always erase difficulty. I am so honored to serve you, Dear One. Let’s keep bowing even when we’re bawling.
I can relate to that. I have obeyed God and it has been the most painful thing that I have done, for it meant putting up with things that were tough without spouting off at the mouth. The emotional hurt was incredible, but the obedience to God was necessary.
Beth maintains that “God Himself is a romantic.” I can believe that.
Then Beth comments on page 91, about the servant, after Laban and Bethuel agree to let Rebekah become Isaac’s wife, that he worshipped.
She says, “The Hebrew word hawah means to prostrate oneself…worship. As you picture this scene, imagine the old man going to his knees, perhaps even to his face. Surely the God of Abraham was also the God of the servant. I daresay God esteems the worship of no one more than that of a devoted servant, particularly one who is cloaked in anonymity and who is known only as his Master’s.
Beth then quotes G.K. Chesterton on marriage, page 95 “They have invented a phrase, a phrase that is a black and white contradiction in two words —‘free love’—as if a lover ever had been, or ever could be, free. It is the nature of love to bind itself, and the institution of marriage merely paid the average man the compliment of taking him at his word.”
I grew up in the free love world and lived that lifestyle – figuring I had already been ruined by my father. With free love you pay dearly. I remember once Pastor Don was teaching about the Woman at the Well, how she had many men. He pointed out that if you end up sleeping around, you lose a piece of yourself to everyone you sleep around with – it affects your spirit. I felt ruined, and went into his office in tears because of what I had done. He told me that I had repented of my past lifestyle, that I was not living that way now, and that God had renewed me and I was a new creation in Christ, the old had passed away. God had restored that innocence. I still at times though, feel like damaged goods, and there are still doubts that I fight. One prominent one is that if my own parents couldn’t love me, why should anyone, even God love me. I know this is a lie from the pit of hell, but so often I have to speak God’s truth, but deep inside there is still a war ravaged part of me that is in ruins. God is healing this, but the healing at times is so slow.
Yet, I have to hold onto the promise that I am the Bride of Christ, and that God loved me enough to send His son to die for my sins. I keep speaking the truth, and I suspect that one day these truths will sink deeper into my being.
Thank you for sharing my journey through the Word. It does impact me greatly, and I love going to your blogs and learning what you share too.
Here are a few pictures of my three teens at a carnival and watching fireworks.
Watching fireworks after a disappointing day of fishing, lots of sun, no fish.
Have a blessed day.
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