A new series begins to weigh on my heart: Unlocking the Bible. I draw up an outline, begin to assign topics to days. Of all the things I know from experience (cooking, gardening, marriage, parenting, crafting) and about which I aspire to share the wisdom I have gathered, this process I know from training. I am fortunate to have been educated in the method of Bible study. Yet the words squeeze out drop by drop, their release constricted, as I wonder:
Is it time for this, Lord? Dare I speak for you?
The answer comes as a whisper to my heart: Drink deeply from my well. What you say flows from what is in your heart (Luke 6:45, NLT).
My desire to share this subject grows into a sense of urgency as I realize (so late) its timeliness. A social network contact sends out a plea: “Does anyone know a good systematic Bible study? I can’t afford Bible college.”
I point her in the direction of some good published Bible studies, and share the name of my personal reference book on the subject of Bible study. I resolve more strongly to write this series. Yet the more I want to write, the more I feel the need to stop and drink deeply.
I pull out my copy of a slim volume, The Practice of the Presence of God. I drink from the musings of Brother Lawrence, and feel refreshed.
Drink more. Be like a tree planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Your leaves will never wither, and you will prosper in all you do. (Psalm 1:3, NLT)
I gather the rest of my applicable books from the reference shelf. Time to build the credibility of the words I have already begun to set down. I page through each book, hearing echoes of my college professors as they repeated certain phrases throughout the course of my education, and I realize the scope of what I propose to relate. This terrifies me. I remember all too well the words of the apostle as he addressed the roles of believers within the church.
“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1, NIV).
Lord, I don’t know if I can do this after all.
Drink from my well. Abide in me, and I will abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me (John 15:4, ISV).
I attend to my children, the dishes, the laundry, the grocery list. I attend to my husband, respectfully turning my focus toward us-centered activities.
I wait, and drink from the well.
Each time, he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me (2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT).
While waiting, I turn to the foundation of my faith. Today’s reading in the Bible in 90 Days Big Gulp Challenge brings me to Deuteronomy, in which Moses addresses the children of Israel one final time before his death and their crossing into the Promised Land. He begins from the beginning and retells the entire history of the nation of Israel, showing God’s faithfulness to his chosen beloved. Moses points them to a future bright with promise, and gives many stern warnings to be faithful.
Lord, help me to be faithful to drink deeply from your well before trying to share your living water. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight (Psalm 19:14, ESV).
The upcoming 30 day how-to series on Unlocking the Bible will begin November 1. What do you think? Does the number thirty sound like too many points for a how-to list, or not enough?