I signed up to have a Pampered Chef party not long after we had moved into our home. The woman who came was named Sandra and she was excited about more than Pampered Chef that night. Her women's Bible study group had just gotten back from a weekend trip to Chattanooga and the Precepts ministries campus. They had attended a weekend women's conference and heard Kay Arthur and other speakers and were very inspired.
She invited me to come to their new women's study starting in a couple weeks on "Spiritual Gifts". So I was wondering, is this something that we take a inventory test and find out where your spiritual gifts are? No...it wasn't. We would learn how to study God's word inductively and hear the Holy Spirit teaching us and leading. I had read a couple of books by Kay Arthur and knew that I wanted to study more.
Wow, that was very different than my understanding but I knew that if God's word was going to be studied, I would grow. I signed up and I started attending. The facilitator of our study was amazing the very first night. She was real! She shared what she was going through in her life. Slowly, surrounded by these ladies, I was getting a picture of what it is like to be a real Christian and not try to hide behind our shiny Sunday clothes, it was so real.
No one had ever told me that I can know God's word without a pastor or some leader telling me what it meant. For the first time the word was coming alive for me. I was trusting God to show me what His word said.
One of the studies I did back in 2001 with these precious ladies was in Philippians. Back then it took 16 weeks to get through the course and as much as I loved Philippians it was wonderful. So this summer when the group of ladies I study with here in Iowa wanted to do the study in Philippians over the summer, I was excited to do it again a little further along on my walk.
Precept ministries has revised it since then and we had a 9 week study this time. With my health this summer and missing a few of the videos and some of the homework, the study went too fast for me to keep up. Now that it is over I have spent the last week bringing my notes from a 16 week course and my notes from the 9 week course together so I can go through it all again in my own devotion time. I will finish the things I didn't get to thoroughly go through the first time this summer and back in 2001.
When I get through (re-watching the videos a friend has let me borrow) I want to get the whole thing bound so that I have a reference to always go to when I need a reminder of all of these gems that have been gleaned from the great book of rejoicing...Philippians!
I re-watched the first video this morning that was actually taped back in 1992. It was today I was reminded of one of the very first truths I didn't just learn, but have lived on my way. It was back in this video that was recorded in 1992 and I heard for the first time in 2001 where Kay Arthur said "every pain, every trial, every suffering, every circumstance of life is filtered through God's fingers of love - it could not come into your life if it did not have a purpose."
Remembering that through so many things we have been through and watching God be true to that very fact and loving us through every moment, good and bad is my hope. He is the truth no matter what else is going on around me.