Since mom's return a few weeks ago we have again started our weekly bible study with the "Ladies" (Susan from Kenya, our worker, and Kelen a Ugandan neighbor). We decided to go deeper with the ladies and begin a discipline of a daily bible reading of a chapter a day with ONE application that the Lord puts on your heart. This is a real stretch for the ladies but are very excited to see how the Lord will work. We began in the book of Mark. You begin by praying then read the chapter, then read it again and mark it and then pray for God to show you one thing (the Navigators program). Often the hard part for me is narrowing down the rebuke and correction to just one things.
It has been really amazing how God is using the unusual portions of scripture to speak truth to me. Having a good bit of familiarity with the gospels I have been so blessed to see the deep truths in the small phrases. The Bible is truly living and applicable to EVERY situation of our lives.
Anyhow... one of the things the Lord really impressed on my heart was the passage in Mark 3:2 which says "And they [being the Pharisees] watched them closely whether he would heal him [man with a withered hand] on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him." So here the religious are carefully watching to see what Jesus is going to do but the really important part is WHY! There are so many that are watching us a Christians whether they are Christians or not to see what we are going to do. They examine our lives, our families, our marriages and even more so here where you can can't help but be under the microscope. The interesting part to me was the motivation behind the examination. The were not looking at him to learn or even to consider him with and open mind but only to find a point to accuse him.
This has really been a point of struggle for me lately. I find myself constantly looking even examining the lives of those around me whether family, friends, fellow missionaries, or even our workers. But what is MY motive? That is where I all too quickly find myself in the shoes of the Pharisees. It is not to encourage or lift up but to criticize. It is believing the worst and looking to see it confirmed instead of believing and hoping in the best. How quickly I become so self-righteous and forget the way of Jesus is love. The motivation is EVERYTHING. Please pray for me as I seek the Lord to change my criticism to compassion, my examining to exalting, and my judging to rejoicing.
So my question to you is what is God saying to you? What area of your life is God wanting to correct? What personality trait is He wanting to speak to you about? Let me encourage you get in the word and listen. He so desires to speak to you. Just one chapter a day. Pray and listen for just ONE thing that he would have you hear.
"Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul" Psalm 66:16