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There are many methods to study the bible and over time we discover what each one of us are comfortable with.
So my goal here is not to tell you how you should read your bible, but I want to share some things I learned about the approach.
If you give 10 growing Christians a chapter to read from the Bible, each one of them could come up with a different explanation and meaning. And this difference in understanding is the origin of religion and probably the reason why there are so many denominations in Christianity.
So lets look at some ways we could understand the father’s heart while studying the scripture.
1. Start with a prayer : Ask God to take control over your thoughts as you read, so that what you understand will not be based on your experiences and will not be influenced by any religious ideas.
Ask God to reveal to you His interpretation of what is written. Stay away from all distraction and study the word with an intention to learn.
2. Read until you hear : Let me share an experience I had recently.
I was going through a tough situation and was asking God to speak to me. One day while praying, I felt lead to read Psalm 23, a Psalm I’m sure all of us are familiar with. I have read it many times and I knew it by heart when I was around 10 years old.
However, this time when I read through, my spirit connected to every verse and it spoke directly into what I was asking God for. It was like those words were coming right out of God’s mouth and I was hearing sitting on my bed. I encountered God right there and everything changed.
When you have experiences like that, you walk out changed. Your situations could still be the same, but you would have the strength and wisdom to overcome it this time.
I have had times when I sat and read 30 psalms non-stop. The idea is to read until your spirit connects to what you are reading and it becomes life to your spirit and it speaks right into your situations. Then, it becomes more than mere English words being read.
“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.(John 6:63 NIV)”
Now this may not happen every time you read your bible. There are times when you read just to learn and study but it is a good habit to take the word before Him and keep reading until He speaks to you specifically for what you need.
3, It has to lead you to God : God is true to His word. There is no doubt about that. But our understanding of it could limit us from knowing the truth.
If the scripture does not lead you to God, its a kingdom without a king. If the scripture does not lead you to God, your interpretation of it could be far from the truth.
To understand the kingdom principles, we need to have the king’s heart.
Here is an excerpt from the book “when heaven invades earth”
“Bible is often promoted so that we will get formulas for living. Certainly there are principles that can be laid in an A to Z fashion. But too often that approach makes the Bible a road map. When I treat the Bible as a road map I live as though I can find my way through my own understanding of His book. I believe this perspective of scriptures actually describes living under the law, not living under Grace. Living under the law is the tendency to desire a list of pre-set boundaries, and not a relationship. While both the law and Grace have commandments, Grace comes with an inbuilt ability to obey what was commanded. Under Grace I don’t get a road map, I get a tour guide – The Holy Spirit. He directs, reveals, and empowers me to be and do what the word says.
Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to be your interpreter as you read scripture.
If you have a Bible study method that you think others would benefit from, consider telling us about it in the comment section. We would love to hear from you.
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The sound of joy is the actual sound of heaven – Bill Johnson
Joy is not the absence of suffering. It is the presence of God.
Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. – John 16:24
“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart …” I’m sure most of us have sung that popular tune during our childhood. But have you ever felt like you’ve lost that joy while growing up? When young, we are looking forward to things that are to come; in old age, we look backward to things that have gone past. In the midst of this ‘occupied’ life, do we have time and reasons to be happy? Or to be ‘joyful’?
I believe, in being a Christian, one of our greatest reward is Joy. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Jesus endured the cross for the “joy set ahead of Him“. Can you imagine how important joy is, that Jesus went through all that he went through “for the joy set ahead of Him”. That is enough for me to believe that joy is such an important asset we have in our daily walk of life.
Yes, there is a difference between being happy and being joyful.
Happiness can be earned for mere moments from material possessions, achievements, families, parties, addictions, etc. But our joy is a direct result of being before the face of God. Joy is a reward for our faith and hope. A lot of times we can keep our joy only by seeing through the eyes of faith. It is very easy to let our jobs, finances, family, pride, etc., steal our joy during challenging times. But if we endure in faith, joy is certainly a reward. It is this joy that framed the story behind the amazing song “It is well”, it is this Joy that gives hope to the needy, it is this Joy that helps in believing for the impossible, it is this joy that lets us live life as sons and daughters of God.
How many times do you get frustrated when you see someone violating traffic rules, when someone does you wrong, when someone disrespects you or they do not live up to your expectation? Well, yes, we do have a reason for the words we utter in response, but reacting at that moment and letting that control your emotion is how easy it is to lose your joy. Well, you may say its just for a short while, but the issue is, eventually, it becomes a habit and your first response to a situation will be to be frustrated and to let it control your words/actions. And that could cause a whole lot of side effects and unnecessary trouble that steal your joy.
A few ways to keep your joy :
– The source : Believing that you are a son/daughter of the Most High is step one to find your joy. Knowing that you are accepted by Him just as you are, is more than enough reason to be joyful.
– Just PAUSE : Do not be reactive. If a person talks to you in frustration and you feel you are going to react the same way, just PAUSE! Let that feeling leave you and then speak. Trust me, you will be so proud of yourself after you’ve done that.
– It’s all about God : Everything you do, all that you want to be, all that you possess, your successes and your failures; surrender everything to God. Learn to draw your self-worth & acceptance from God and that He is the only one you need to please.
– A conscious effort : It takes a conscious effort to control your emotions, to not be reactive, to not let people pull you down, to put a smile on someone’s face, to make your joy contagious.
Joy and faith go hand in hand. Joy and hope go hand in hand.
Romans 15:13 : May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
You cannot have faith and not be joyful. Because in His presence, there is fullness of joy. Joy and fear cannot co-exist. Joy and sorrow cannot co-exist.
We live in a time where we have a hundred reasons to be frustrated, broken, angry, unhappy almost every day, but joy is your reward and never lose it to/for anything in this world. The minute you give away your joy, it is an open door for the enemy. The moment you let frustration, defeat, bitterness, regret, etc,. control your emotions, you are trading your joy. Make a conscious effort to smile. 🙂
Get used to being joyful because that is what heaven tastes like. Joy gives the courage and the ability to handle what comes your way. Fight for your joy!