Maybe I Need Bible Homework

28 Jan

I read about a school’s homework policy. Sounds funny, but maybe it’s true!

Students should not spend more than 90 minutes per night.

This time should be budgeted in the homeworkpolicy_lolwithgod_patriceaudet_pixabayfollowing manner:

  • 15 minutes looking for assignment.
  • 11 minutes calling a friend for the assignment.
  • 23 minutes explaining why the teacher is mean and just does not like children.
  • 8 minutes in the bathroom.
  • 10 minutes getting a snack.
  • 7 minutes checking the TV Guide.
  • 6 minutes telling parents that the teacher never explained the assignment.
  • 10 minutes sitting at the kitchen table waiting for Mom or Dad to do the assignment. *

Sounds about right.

For some people. Not for me. I remember how much I got done as a student. I actually liked to study in school. I’d shut out distractions and shut myself away with my books until I grasped what was important.

And because I had homework, I learned a lot more than if I had left my education to chance.

At one point, I thought, “Maybe I need Bible homework.”

Paul told Timothy,

“Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth” (1 Timothy 2:15, Amplified).

It’s not that I wasn’t “in my Bible.” I’m in it all the time for my job, for blogs I write, and for general reading (and lately, memorizing).

But studying to learn… studying for God’s approval… studying to be a better teacher?

Not so much.

Because of my job and other responsibilities, I can’t go to the official women’s Bible studies at church. But that’s just a reason for my lack of study, not an excuse.

I can educate myself in biblical truth at home. I’ve got oodles of books and commentaries and several Bible translations on my shelves. And I have the Holy Spirit within me, the best teacher of all (1 John 2:27).

So I’ve started giving myself homework.

  • I assign a passage and answer questions about the text.
  • I write little essays.
  • I apply what I learn – I figure out practical ways to use what I learn.
  • And the Lord sees to it that I am “tested” on the things I say I believe!

Why should I study scripture?

I am accountable to the Lord for what I learn about His Word … or fail to learn.

Learning just takes a plan and the desire to execute that plan.

It takes seeking and responding to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and not carrying out the desires of our distracting flesh (Galatians 5:16).

I need to shut off the TV, switch off Facebook, get out of the kitchen, and get busy studying.

I’ve got homework!

Do you need Bible homework too? When are you going to get started?

 ~ Dawn

 * “Homework Policy,” Cybersalt News, January 28, 2015, CybersaltDigest

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Pixabay

The Doctor Is In

7 Jan

One day, Emma felt terribly ill, so she was glad her doctor was in. The doctor checked her out, prescriptions_orangepills_dmwilson_lolwithgodsmiled, and then left the room.

A few minutes later, the doctor’s assistant returned with three bottles of pills. Emma looked surprised.

“You need to take the green pill with a big glass of water when you first wake up,” the medical assistant said. “Then take the yellow pill with water after lunch. And right before you head to bed, take the orange pill with another glass of water.”

Emma, suddenly overcome with fear, blurted out, “This is terrible! What’s wrong with me? Why do I have to take so much medicine?”

“Oh, it’s not about the meds,” the assistant said. “You’re just not drinking enough water!”

LOL!

Sometimes the simplest solutions are best, but we miss them. So we get a lot of “prescriptions” that are likely unnecessary.

[Don’t misunderstand me. I am all for medical prescriptions that are needed, often crucial. But some healing doesn’t require “meds” at all. Spiritually speaking, there might be something else we’re missing.]

God, our Great Physician, hears our hurts and HE is the best prescription for our “heart needs.”

We may clamor for other “prescriptions.” We may think we need something from God. But the truth is, we need God Himself.

Jesus said, “apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

But He also said, “You refuse to come to me” (John 5:40). (Foolish, right?)

That second scripture is true of lost humanity that rejects Christ. But in one sense, it’s also true for the believer.

We scurry around looking for other solutions in our times of need. Sometimes we even make good things—our church, our Bibles, our ministry—little gods in our lives, hoping they can solve our issues.

We only come running to the Lord when all else fails us. We’re so slow to learn.

John 15:5 is changing my life. I keep telling myself, over and over, “Remember: without Jesus, you can’t do anything!”

I know in my heart this is true for all of us.

Even our goodness, apart from Jesus, is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6a).

Our best efforts are futile because they won’t last; nothing is eternal that is not connected to Him (1 John 2:17; 2 Peter 3:10-12).

John Piper shared the example of a paralyzed man who could do nothing for himself but talk. But a strong and reliable friend came to live with the man and help him. The paralyzed man had nothing but praise for this caring friend.

That is how I must see my state.

I can do nothing apart from the grace of God. But who can tell what I might do IN His grace?

I can only bear fruit in my life and ministry when I come to God in prayer in my time of need (Hebrews 4:16) and rest in my position in Christ.* And when I do, this glorifies the Father (John 15:7-8). And my heart fills with praise to Him.

The Doctor is in, but we must come to Him.

Is there any area of your life where you’re still trying to go it alone? Do you need a “come to the Doctor” moment?

* Some of the scriptures that tell the believer what it’s like to be “in Christ” – Romans 8:1-2; Ephesians 1:3; 2:6; Colossians 1:13; 3:1, 3; Philippians 4:13.

Also: see my Heart Choices Today post about being “in Christ.”

~ Dawn

 

 

 

Climbing Stairs to Nowhere

30 Dec

One of the funniest things I pass on a regular basis is a set of stairs that leads nowhere. It’s near my husband’s office at the seminary where he works. There likely was a door there once, or plans for one, but the stairs just look odd there now. I smile every time I pass them.

thestairstonowhere_lolwithgodAs I approach a new year, I’m thinking back over my life and ministry and trying to figure out what has been the most productive things I’ve accomplished over the past year.

There were some great things, but in at least one case, I was “climbing,” but ending up nowhere. I wasn’t lazy, but there was no “fruit” for my labors in that area—nothing I can point to and say, “That was worth my time.” 

I don’t want that to happen next year.

I’m sitting down to consider where I want to end up so I can make wise strategies to get there.

Ephesians 2:10 says,

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” 

God not only created me, He gave me new life in Christ; and with that new life He also created work projects for me. It’s my responsibility to pray and listen so I can discover those good works He has prepared for me to accomplish.

Life is too short to miss what God has planned for me to do. 

The older I get, the more I am struck by the brevity of life. The Bible makes this so clear:

“… our days on earth are like a shadow…” (1 Chronicles 29:15).

“…my days are swifter than a runner; they flee away…” (Job 9:25).

I am like “a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

I found myself praying today:

Lord, teach me to consider my days so I can grow in wisdom. Remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered and fleeting. Help me make the best use of the time You have given me. (Psalm 90:12; 39:4; Ephesians 5:16)

I don’t want to end up on a stairway to nowhere.

Do you?

What are you doing to evaluate your life before you head into a new year?

~ Dawn

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