Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"How to Study the Bible"

I listened to a Matt Chandler seminar the other day about how to study the Bible. He said it was really how to read the Bible, not necessarily study it. I saw the title and thought, "I went to Seminary, I think I know how to study the Bible". Now, doing it is another thing. His seminar talked about getting a Bible reading plan, which I've never used because I thought I was too good for that. But he said a Bible reading plan gives you a plan so you aren't randomly turning to a strange story in the Bible, and it gets you to read parts of the Bible you wouldn't normally read. So you read for a certain amount of time, underlining verses that stick out to you. Then you write those verses in your journal and comment on them, how they speak to you, then you pray. So simple! Yet, when you do it everyday, the Word becomes a part of you!
So, today I did it for the first time. I found a Bible reading plan online where they email you each day with your readings for the day. You can even listen to it if you want. I read Psalms 31-33, and then tonight I'll read a passage out of Acts. And I just had to share a verse that stuck out to me.

For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord"- and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32:4,5

The heat of the summer part got me. Living in Texas, I get that! There are days you just want to stay inside because even walking out to the mailbox wears you out! In Houston, we live in a constant state of wetness. There are men next door hanging siding, and I just can't imagine how tired they are at the end of the day from being outside all day. The heat just makes you feel so tired. That's what its like to walk around with unconfessed sin! There are some sins that you just don't realize you are dealing with, but sometimes, you know you are doing or have done something against God, but your pride keeps you from taking that to Him to ask for forgiveness, or you just are not ready to give it up yet. You enjoy living in that sin. But I have been there, and you do feel tired, like there is an extra weight on your shoulders, it takes twice the energy to do anything, just like in the summer heat!
But when you finally give it up, admit to God the sin and ask for forgiveness, that freedom of taking that off your shoulders feels like diving in a cold swimming pool. Or, since I don't like swimming, walking into a cold, air conditioned building and someone handing you a cold glass of ice water. So refreshing, relaxing. A moment of just taking a deep breath and living the moment.
Thank you Father for always being willing to forgive. There is nothing too far out of your loving hand that you won't forgive. Help me to first admit my sin of pride so I can then see the rest of the sins that are keeping me from sitting at your feet and living in your freedom!

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