Friday, October 10, 2008

I am enjoying the study Amy is leading. Amy is an excellent teacher, encourager and is very full of inspiration. If you'd like to join in, it's not too late. It's an awesome study I have found that the Proverbs 31 Woman is not as intimidating as I once thought.

This study on our relationship with God is one of my favorites so far. I love it. God cares so much for us and desires a relationship with us. He longs for us to really know Him so He can make Himself known to us.

"I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart." ~ Jeremiah 24:7 (NIV) (Emphasis, mine)

The Hebrew word for know used in this verse is yada. Look at the meanings...

1) to know
a) (Qal)
1) to know
a) to know, learn to know
b) to perceive
c) to perceive and see, find out and discern
d) to discriminate, distinguish
e) to know by experience
f) to recognise, admit, acknowledge, confess
g) to consider
2) to know, be acquainted with
3) to know (a person carnally)
4) to know how, be skilful in
5) to have knowledge, be wise
b) (Niphal)
1) to be made known, be or become known, be revealed
2) to make oneself known
3) to be perceived
4) to be instructed
c) (Piel) to cause to know
d) (Poal) to cause to know
e) (Pual)
1) to be known
2) known, one known, acquaintance (participle)
f) (Hiphil) to make known, declare
g) (Hophal) to be made known
h) (Hithpael) to make oneself known, reveal oneself

God reveals Himself to us, and by having a relationship with Him, we can truly know Him.

Father, help me to truly know You and to be known by You. My relationship with You is the most important thing in the world to me. You are the Most High God, and I am humbled that You desire to reveal Yourself to me and are aware of the desires of my heart, even the things that are hidden deep wtihin. Thank You, God, for being such an intimate and loving Father.

Amy writes:

1. Our relationship with God is more important than any other relationship we could try to maintain or establish.

She tells us that the way we establish our relationship with Him is through the reading of His Word, through worship, and through prayer.

I would encourage you to dive into His Word daily. Whether you are reading from the Old Testament or in the New, you will learn His truths and learn more about the God who loves you. New truths will be revealed to you and you'll draw closer to God by knowing Him better.

Worship is essential, too. As Amy put it, "Worship allows us to go deeper in fellowship with Him. It is a truly intimate experience. It is likened to those mushy talks you have with your spouse, family, or friends. When you completely expose your heart to someone a whole new level of trust and intimacy develops. You become closer and form a tighter bond. That is what worship does for our relationship with God. Put on some music and praise Him while you are doing dishes. Worship while you drive. Sing to Him in the shower. He desires that from us. Just watch how He responds to you!"

Going to that deep level of intimacy with God makes me vulnerable, but it's a vulnerability that is handed over to Someone who can be completely trusted. He will never leave me for forsake me. The more time I spend with Him, the more time I want to spend with Him. I love being in the presence of God, worshiping Him in total abandonment through song and praise. When I do, the blessings of God rain down upon me so much that my heart is full to bursting! My cup does overflow.

Amy writes, "Prayer is another key component to developing a relationship with God."

Prayer time with God is a very special thing for me. I once went on an 8 year long journey of prayer with God, meeting with Him each morning at 6:00 a.m. While I was in prayer for a specific matter, He turned my heart to other things I needed to pray for as well. I grew incredibly close to Him during that time and suffice it to say that we have had a tight relationship ever since. While I don't rise early any longer, I still do have my quiet times with Him in the morning and more briefly at night, but one of the ways I pray is throughout the day. God's Word tells us to pray without ceasing.

"Pray without ceasing." ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:17


Amy writes, "According to the scripture there are many different types of prayer. It was not distinctly defined as setting time aside, entering into meditation, intercession, tongues and/or crying out intensely and petitioning God. These are all forms of prayer with Him but there is one that is so often overlooked, the one God desires most, the one most often written about in His Word. It is simply this… to always be aware of and acknowledge His presence. It is walking with Him as we would our husband, sister, or friend."


Maintain an open dialogue with Him throughout the day. Thank Him as opportunities arise, bless His Name and praise Him for His handiwork, breathe a quick prayer when you're stressed or in trouble. When I get up from my desk to go to a meeting or just downstairs to visit with friends, I will sometimes quote a Psalm, such as, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14 (NIV) or I might quote the fruit of the Spirit verse when I'm tempted to not show one of my fruits. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV) I love to pray God's Word. That might not be your forte', but I encourage you to find a style of prayer that works for your relationship with God and use it. The blessings will be abundant in your life when you do. God desires us to be in constant communciation with us.

Amy also wrote, "Serving His children will strengthen your relationship with Him." I love the verse she gave. "And the King will tell them, `I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!' Matthew 25:40

Amy's second point was:

2. There is only one priority: God. Read Psalm 37, the entire chapter. Before reading ask God to give you revelation of the scriptures and be sure to highlight any that stand out to you and be sure to take notes. Go ahead and read it and then come back.

"Do not fret...Trust in the LORD and do good...Delight yourself in the LORD...Commit your way to the LORD...Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him...do not fret...Refrain from anger and turn from wrath...the meek will inherit the land...the Lord laughs at the wicked...Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;...The days of the blameless are known to the LORD, and their inheritance will endure forever....those the LORD blesses will inherit the land...If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm;...I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread...Turn from evil and do good;...For the LORD loves the just...The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just. The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip. ...Wait for the LORD Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. ...The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; ...because they take refuge in him."

What an incredible list of promises and instruction from our God! Oh, how I cling to the hope and encouragement and promise of this chapter! God is our priority - not anything else. It's all about God.

On priorities, Amy writes:

This is incorrect:

God
Spouse
Children
Home
Ministry
Work
Church

Or maybe you have seen another version:

God
Family and Home
Church and Ministry

I will stop right now and say, I had no idea. I thought that's exactly how it was supposed to be, until I learned this.

Amy wrote, "These are inaccurate because God directs our steps. Please do not confuse this priorities list for God's divine order of authority. That is completely different. Priorities are defined here: Dictionary.com. Go take a look. Are your children really less important than your husband? Is your church really less important than your housework? According to the lists above that is the case. There is absolutely no scripture to confirm that the above list is God's desire for us. Instead, there is much scripture to prove otherwise. John 13:34 commands us to love as He loves. Does God love or show love to any one person more than the other?"

I love her diagram of how priorities are to be ordered.

Amy writes, "God is the only priority. Our being obedient, submitting to our husband, teaching our children, caring for our home and serving our community are all examples of making God our priority because it is in line with His word. We do all things unto Him."

When we have God as the center of our priority, all other things do fall into place. One does not take precedent over the other. Remember, it's all about God! While we are to serve others, as Amy wrote, "We do all things unto Him!" Everything is important to God. He has no favorites. He's just as happy with us when we are being a blessing to our husband as when we are serving the children, or in my case, nieces and nephews!

I love what Amy wrote here, "God is our ultimate authority and our relationship with Him is our priority. Please, do not think that this is at all diminishing the role of our husbands. It is not and we will get into that in the next lesson. Our husbands, second to God, deserve our utmost respect and honor."

We are to honor our husbands second to God.

"For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior." ~ Ephesians 5:23 (NIV)


Amy's words in blue - mine in black.

Focused Thoughts:

  1. Our relationship with God is more important than any other relationship we could try to maintain or establish.

  2. There is only one priority: God.

Scripture for Memory:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Write It Down (or post it):

Be sure to record your revelation and thoughts in your bible, notebook, or let us all share in what you are learning and write a post about it and link it here! Share with us what God has revealed to you when were seeking Him. Again, I'll post my own thoughts and notes later in the week.

Done - see above

For Study Purposes:

List some of the scriptures you highlighted in Psalm 37 and tell what God revealed to you about them.

Done - see above


Discuss the difference between "priority" and "authority."

Amy had written, "God is our ultimate authority and our relationship with Him is our priority."

There is a hierarchy in all relationships and authority is at the top. When God is rightly viewed in ultimate authority in our relationship with Him, we prioritize our life around Him, recognizing and respecting that authority.

Steve is my earthly authority. In earthly matters, Steve comes first. When I am asked, for instance, to go somewhere with a friend, I make sure, not as a slave to him but out of respect for him, that he doesn't have something he would rather me do or that he didn't have plans to spend time with him (or that the checkbook isn't running low.) So he's my priority there as well.

It's the same with God. In my relationship with Him, I am to seek Him in everything I do and respect His authority and priority in my life.

Questions to ponder: Have you been following Him or trying to make your own path? Consider whether or not you have become a slave to worldly priorities and "to do" lists. If no then how have you avoided it? If yes then how will you change it?


In the past, I would have said that I followed my own path. I was led to a point in my life, though, where all I could do was depend on God, and sense then, I try to make it a point to not be a slave the things of the earth. I do make "to do" lists and things, but I am not so rigidly tied to them that I hyperventilate and worry excessively when I don't get A B and C done. Nothing is more important than God. I have full faith that He will work it all out, no matter what.


6 comments:

Denise said...

Well done sweetie.

Susan said...

Laurie Ann,

Well done and amen! I was so delighted to see your take on priorities. So many people today have this very mixed up. Can you imagine the wife of a non-believing husband telling him that God is more important to her than he is? Doesn't exactly inspire him to seek the Lord, does it? I am so glad you wrote about that today.

Blessings,
Susan

Denise said...

If we have God in the center and upon our throne, HE will direct our day and the important things of that day!

Thanks for sharing

Cheryl said...

Laurie Ann,

Thanks for sharing this.

Blessings!
Cheryl

Alexis - Chickie Momma said...

Wow, that diagram of priorities really got my mind going... I'm going to have to work on that one. I'd always thought it was supposed to look like a LIST - but this seems much better!

Amanda said...

It is amazing to see all the ways that this Bible study is touching people.
Amanda