Thursday, January 5, 2017

Faith in Action: Reading the Bible

Tickled pink.  That’s how I feel about this post.

I have a focused aim as we cover each of the five faith-building practices in this Back 2 Basics series: Share the how and why behind each of the disciplines on Tuesday, then follow up on Thursday with testimonies from real people who are living out the practices. We’ll learn personal stories of struggle and celebration as new habits were established. We’ll hear about God-given passions to encourage others to model similar behavior and receive God’s best in the process.

I believe we’re encouraged by seeing faith in action. It’s one thing to read about what we “should” do, and another to receive inspiration, and motivation from those who have established the disciplines. From those in the trenches - those actually doing the hard work. (Yes, I said hard. Faith building is in no way a life of ease).

Today, I have the privilege of sharing the personal testimony of a new friend of mine. Her name is Lisa Morris and the instant you read her bio, I’m sure you’ll see why we connected. (Just in case you don’t yet know me well enough to see it… We both love the Lord and His Word, we’re wives of law enforcement officers, and we each write women’s Bible studies, teach, and blog).  You could say we have a few things in common. J

Last month, our church’s women’s group went through Lisa’s study on Titus and came away blessed and enriched. Her dedication to the Bible and her desire to walk in conformity to its teachings were immediately apparent as we studied under her teaching. AND, the study is free. How generous is that?

Following is an email conversation between Lisa and me as we discussed the practice of daily time in God’s Word. If you’d like to read the original post on this topic, click here.

Stand by to receive a blessing as Lisa shares her heart.

Me:       Can you describe your routine of spending daily time with God in His Word?

Lisa:     I start my study in prayer and I continue to pray as I walk through my verses for the day.  I try to spend about an hour or two hours a day in Bible study. I read through the book I am studying every day if the book is small. If the book is large like Romans, I write out a reading schedule to read the book through in a week.  For example, right now I am studying through the book of 1 Peter. It’s a small book, only five chapters. I do my best to read it every day. Reading the text through on a daily basis helps keep the context of the book in my mind as I study. I study through an entire book before moving on to another. I use a notebook and write out the verses I am studying for the day. After I write the verses, I cross reference with other Scriptures and do word studies on any word that I need the meaning of. I do not have a set amount of verses I study in a day. One day I might study through 10 verses. On another day it might only be two to three verses. It depends on the text and whether or not I understand what is being taught.

One other thing I do is to go through the book I am studying and record everything I learn about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I write this out in the same notebook I use for writing out the verses and word studies.

Me:  When did you establish a solid habit of reading and studying the Word?

Lisa:  I established this study habit about nine years ago. The Lord placed a great desire in my heart to write and lead Bible studies. This way of study for me not only deepens my faith but helps me in writing my studies so other women can grow in their faith.

Me:  What’s the biggest blessing you feel it adds to your daily walk with Christ?

Lisa:  The biggest blessing I receive from this ay of study is learning what the Word teaches me about the Godhead. By focusing my attention on what the text teaches about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, I learn who my heavenly Father is, what He has done for me through Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in my salvation. I believe without basic truths about the work of the Trinity in our salvation we will struggle in our Christian walk.

Me:  What one thing has most profoundly helped you develop this spiritual discipline?

Lisa: I would say without a doubt prayer is the one thing that has helped me develop this spiritual discipline. On my own I would fail. Going to God in prayer before during and after my studies helps keep me focused and accountable to Him for my growth.

Me:  What do you notice about days when you don’t spend this time with God?

Lisa:  I am so thankful you asked this question. So often we can read about someone else’s habit in study and become very discouraged thinking they have it all together and never miss a day in the Word! We can heap guilt upon ourselves for missing a day here and there. I do not know about you but life happens. My best plans are often interrupted. Yes, I miss days in the Word. When I do miss time in the Word I feel lost and my day does not feel the same. I have missed time with the most important person there is in my life. I am learning to give myself grace when life happens to me. I hope you give yourself some grace as well when you miss some time in the Word. Do not give yourself too much grace, though, Bible Study and prayer are very important disciplines in our Christian walk. J

Me:  Why would you encourage others to dig into God’s Word every day?

Lisa:  I would encourage others to dig deep into God’s Word to know Him and learn to enjoy Him forever. Our main goal, if I may say it that way, is to know God and to understand how we are to live as aliens and strangers in a world that is not our home. Without being in the Word we will not know how to live a life pleasing to Him. There is much false teaching today! If you and I are not studying the real truth we will be ill-equipped to know the schemes of the devil and the God spoken Truth.

2 Peter 1:3 teaches us that God’s “divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

Be in the Word! It is sufficient for life and godliness.  Thank you, Cathy, for this opportunity. Thank you for your heart to encourage and equip women with the truth of God’s Word and to point them to the only truth we have!

Hi, my name is Lisa. I am a born-again child of God, a police officer’s wife, and a mom to 3 amazing kids. I am a Bible study writer, teacher, and blogger. My desire is to encourage and equip you by offering Bible studies and articles that help you grow in your relationship with Christ.

To visit Lisa's blog or view her Bible studies, click here

Your Turn:

What do you find inspirational about Lisa’s story?  Is there something here that motivates you to action?

What one thing can you learn from Lisa and begin to implement today? Remember, she didn’t study for hours the first time she picked up a Bible. She grew into the habit.  Can you identify a starting point for developing a habit of time in the Word for yourself?

Lisa and I would both be encouraged by your comments and conversation. Join the discussion with the Strengthened by the Word Ministries Facebook page or on Twitter. Cathy’s Twitter: @cathymcintosh33  Lisa’s Twitter: @LisaMorris3703.  You can also leave a comment below.

Next week, we’ll delve into the importance of prayer in your spiritual walk. Meet me right back here and we’ll dig in together.

Be Strengthened Today by His Word,
Psalm 119:28


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