Tuesday, June 09, 2009

What Will You Do When Things Really Get Tough?

Tonight was the first meeting of our summer leadership development study.

It was wonderful to see the faces of these women whom I love so dearly.

So deeply.

Most of them are women with whom I've been studying on and off for the past several years, and I cannot begin to tell you how precious they are to me!

Some are already Precept leaders, and are enjoying this time off from leading, for a bit of refreshment.

That's important, by the way...if you're a leader, do take breaks, so that you might be refreshed...please do this! I had to learn that lesson the hard way!

A few are not yet trained leaders, but are in the position (or may soon be) of leading women or kids, and want to learn how to teach them to reason through the Word for themselves.

All of them are amazing, wonderful women...hungry for God, for His Word, and for serving others.

I wish you could meet each of them face to face...oh, how I love them!

Tonight we began the Precept Upon Precept study of the book of Ruth, titled,
"Kinsman Redeemer."

Tonight was mostly an overview and orientation. We watched a fantastic DVD put out by the ministry titled "The Power of Inductive Study." It's only 4 minutes long, but it sure packs a punch!

Then we looked at 2 Timothy chapter 4, and talked about Paul's commissioning of Timothy.

I asked the women "What are you doing in your life that is making an eternal impact?"

And so, I ask you the same, as I ask myself on a daily basis.

I shared with the ladies a bit about how I prepare for leading. These are two of the most effective tools that I use in my study time.

First: I have a question page.

It's a blank piece of paper upon which I draw a big ? mark, and I keep it beside me as I study. When I stumble upon something that I don't understand, or which hasn't yet been revealed from the text, I write it down on my question page.

It's amazing to see how many of my questions end up being answered from the text, the longer and deeper that I dig in!

Second: I use another piece of blank paper, upon which I write out the 5Ws and an H, with lots of space between each, so that I have plenty of room to write.

This is my application question page.

I pray in earnest before I begin my study, and ask the Lord to reveal points of application to me. Even though I think Precept studies are the best, it's simply not possible for the writer of each study to know every possible question of application to ask.

I believe much of application is very personal between the student and the Lord.

Of course, some application questions will be clear cut across the board...but not all of them.

I love this part of my study time, because it's the time that the Lord really reveals Himself to me, and shows me once again how alive and powerful His Word is.

I'm just going to give you one little example from our study tonight...

Ruth 1:1-2
Now it came about in the days when the judges governed, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the land of Moab with his wife and his two sons. The name of the man {was} Elimelech, and the name of his wife, Naomi; and the names of his two sons {were} Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah. Now they entered the land of Moab and remained there.

The Bible makes it clear in the very last verse of the book of Judges, that:
In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
(Judges 21:25)

So here we find Israel with no king. Everyone was living by their own standard, and not by the standard of God's righteousness.

To equate it to lived by "her truth" another by "his truth". And, they were listening to the false prophets of the day, who told them what they wanted to hear.

Again, to equate it to today...many are buying into the prosperity gospel, (you do your part and God will do His part...God wants you to have a big car, a big house, lots of's His blessing upon you.)

This is false teaching, which by the way seems to be unraveling at the seams, but that's another post.

Back to Israel...

Then, famine strikes Israel.

Enter Elimelech, the husband of Naomi. Elimelech's name meant "My God is King."

Bethlehem means "House of Bread."

So famine hits, and the man whose name means "My God is King" and who lives in the "House of Bread," decides to pack up and flee to Moab...taking his wife and sons with him.

Moab...known for idol worship.

Moab...a people with whom the Israelites had been forbidden by God to intermarry.

It just got me to thinking, and of course, to writing out questions on my application page.

With all that's going on in our country today, will I flee?

Or will I live as Pastor and Mrs. Richard Wurmbrand did in Romania, when the Communists came to power? If you don't know his story, Google him, or "Voice of the Martyrs", and be awed.

8 years of imprisonment. They didn't run. They stood firm!

8 years of torture at the hands of the Communists, all for refusing to deny Christ.

8 years without his wife or son.

What of Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who returned to Germany knowing full well the impending oppression of the Nazis, because he was called to carry the cross of Christ before his countrymen?

He was brutally executed just weeks before the war ended.

Just weeks before...

Friends, I gotta tell you from my heart...our country is messed up. We're calling evil good and good evil.

We're killing our babies en masse and calling it choice.

If the babies had a choice, what do you think they'd choose?

We're taking the covenant of marriage, designed by God, and making a mockery of it.

But, what will we and I, those who know and love the Lord?

Those who have been trained in His Word? Those of us who know "My God is King?"

What will we do in this time of spiritual famine, and for some, literal famine?

Will we flee?

Will we choose to sojourn elsewhere?

Or, will we stay right where God has planted us, and allow Him to minister through us, to a hurting world?

Will we see the state of spiritual famine that our nation is in as an opportunity to point others to the Lord, or will we abandon our calling for temporary comfort?

Will we flee to Moab (the world), and seek comfort in the pleasures offered there?

Or will we seek God for the courage to carry the cross of Christ introduce others to their Kinsman Redeemer?

Lots to chew on here, isn't there?

And we're just in the first two verses!

I love you tonight, and am pleading with God to raise more of you up to lead others in the study of His Word...

It doesn't matter if you're scared. It doesn't matter if you feel inadequate.

It matters only that people come face to face with the One True God, through His Word.

People are starving for the Word, for the truth.

Will you feed them, and teach them to feed themselves?

I'm pleading with God to give you courage.

All my love,

Blue Letter Bible. "Ruth 1 - King James Version." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 9 Jun 2009.
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1 comment:

Deb said...

Thanks for your tips in regard to studying. Also, for the heart check...I would have to stay put...God promises to make the way.