Archive for 'Application'

Lesson 01: Application

If there is anything I want you to take away from this lesson is a simple process:

  1. Pray First: Start this very day praying before you begin studying the Bible. Ask God to give you wisdom and understanding. Ask him to soften your heart so that you will receive the truth that he has for you.
  2. Focus: When you begin reading, don’t focus on the quantity of what is read (# of chapters), but instead focus on ‘What is God trying to tell or teach you through His word?’
  3. Pause & Discuss: Pause for a moment and talk to Him. Ask Him questions or discuss what you are learning.  If you feel convicted and know you need to ask forgiveness, stop and do it — right then, don’t wait!

I want you to have your Bible reading time to be a conversation. When you do this then God’s story begins to be woven into your life and it becomes your story as well. You’ll remember years later how certain verses sustained you through difficult times. How you were strengthened and challenged by your conversations over the Bible. It will be amazing how God can use a simple phrase or even just a word to speak into your life — if you’ll let Him!

Exercise Follow-up: Pathways

I desire for this blog to be an opportunity for me to write and grow as well as encourage others. So, it’s only fair that I don’t give an exercise without doing it myself. This weeks application is to walk through the various paths using flickr images, and think on some of the paths from your past and new past God may have ahead for you. I’ll use some of my favorites and walk you through some of the paths the Christian Life takes in pictures:

Paths:

The start of  the adventure: This path (above) reminds me of a transition from reality into a new world as a believer in Christ. The colors suddenly seem more vibrant; it is the start of an exciting new awareness of God’s love and a hope that maybe it is true that God has a purpose and plan for me. There is a certain naive feeling that a loving God would only want good for my life, so I should now be free from trials and live happily ever after.

The darkness hits: It’s not too long after being saved that the first period of deep trial begins. This is usually a place that many people give up their journey altogether. God has allowed difficulties to help teach and grow us, but when you don’t realize this, it often makes you question God. There is not a deeper valley then when you are in the midst of defeat and are not sure if God can be relied on.  When people hold on and begin to pray out of a new place, a place of emptiness from nearing the end of self and recognizing that you cannot humanly get out of this trial without God showing up in a major way.  This is when God does show up and take you to a new path . . .

God’s Appearance: I noticed a bit of extra grace at the beginning of my journey.  I was very uncertain of what direction to take and made many mistakes (because I was needing to change in so many ways),  but God gently escorted me through the trials and took me to a new summit of His Gloriousness. It was so exciting, because I was learning so much: I can trust Him; He is real; He hears me; He loves me and He does have some plan that He is guiding me toward.  It feels like a heavenly path when we give up our direction and begin to walk in God’s ways.

Valleys / Trials: This life is hard and there is a continuous cycle between times of rest and trial. Just like this path trials can color our vision and make the way in front of us look uncertain. Ironically, trials make me tired and I feel like I’m the most unproductive during these times. The truth is God is growing me and changing me the fastest during times of trial. I often don’t notice how much God has changed me until I go through a similar struggle again and have peace and faith throughout, when I can remember similar seasons when I felt hopeless and worried. I can then smile and realize,  Wow!, God has changed me again – for the better.

Times of Renewal / Cleansing: Another season that often shows up is one of personal renewal – it is a time of overcoming sin and beginning again. It is reminiscent of the beginning days when the adventure began and an awareness of God’s hand was fresh and the freedom in forgiveness was new. There is a path of wisdom that comes from realizing good and bad all must first come through God’s hand and He can be trusted through both. Peace is provided while walking down the path of faith and leaving the guiding and leading to the Lord.

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