an oldie, but a goodie.

Have you ever done an inductive Bible study? I don’t know if I can properly explain it, but I’m going to give it a whirl. You know how I love whirl-ing. Basically, what we did during our InterVarsity Bible study is this: our leader printed out the passage we were going to study, gave us all a copy and we read it together. Then, he gave us a few minutes to go through it on our own. We highlighted, underlined and marked up our pages. We found things we thought were interesting, noticed details and wrote out questions. Then we came back together and went through our observations. I learned SO MUCH. The first one we did together was Mark 1:16-20; 2:13-17. Here’s the first passage in the ESV.

16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18And immediately they left their nets and followed him.19And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

Our group made a lot of observations that I want to share with you.

“I will make you…” I love that he says that.  On the Jesus timeline, he hasn’t said the famous words, “I am the way, the truth and the life,” (John 14:6) and yet he’s informing them that he is the only way. “I will make you.” I’m the one. It’s me. We can try all day to be good enough, nice enough, perfect enough to get into Heaven, but at the end of the day, “…no one comes to the Father except through [Jesus].” (John 14:6) It makes me think of the song from the Broadway musical, “Wicked”. “It’s me…IT’S MMEEEE!”….anyway.

“…fishers of men.” He had a plan to use the talents and passions they already had for his glory. Go, Christ! These fisherman made their living going out and seeking fish. Day in and day out, they searched. That was their job and they were good at it. Otherwise, they would have gone to grad school or something. God’s plan involved using fishermen to fish men. To bring them in with the Good News and then throw them back into the world to spread the message. I have this image of God standing up there in Heaven, catching us and gently tossing us back and watching us run around telling others about Him.

“Immediately…” Not, “as soon as they finished their lunch” or “after they packed up their jammies”. It was immediate. “…they left their nets and followed him.” Then Christ “immediately” calls James and John. Not, “as soon as they were done mending their nets.” They dropped what they were doing, left their father and followed Christ. What’s great is that Christ didn’t do anything without thought and a plan. He didn’t call them to him and say, “So, I’m thinking about asking you to follow me. How would you feel about that?” He calls them. Immediately. He has a plan and they’re a part of it. In Luke 9:23, it says, “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'” Boom. Take up your cross. What’s your cross?

“…the hired servants…” John and James’ family must have been wealthy. They had servants, after all. They probably had it made. Some servants, maybe a yacht in the Bahamas, either way they were probably comfortable. They didn’t hesitate when Christ called them. Today, not all of us have servants. Yet, when Christ calls us, how many excuse variations can we come up with on the fly?

I’d really encourage you to try and do your next quiet time like this. If it’s a story you feel like you’ve read a million times, look for details. Read things out of context. Just think about the words in front of you. Then, go through your rolodex in your brain and think about other passages you’ve come across in the past that relate. It’s amazing how it all comes together.

And like I said, these aren’t all my personal notes on the passage. A couple of these were said by my fellow InterVarsity-ers.

-Caitlyn

Reading: “Sons of Encouragement” by Francine Rivers

[notable] “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers

I recently read the book “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers who is, by far, my favorite author of all time. Every time I read one of her books, I have a really hard time putting it down. This book was recommended to me by multiple people and here I am, recommending it to you. Every girl needs to read this book, for sure. Especially if you’re hurting, struggling and fighting a past with an ugly, rearing head. Guys should read it, too. There’s a lot of insight into the workings of women and of God in this book.

I can’t even begin describing how great this book is. I don’t know where to start. Here’s a little summary:

This book draws inspiration from the book of Hosea in the Bible. The storyline of the book mirrors, in a way, the storyline in God’s Word. The story is about Angel, a prostitute during California’s gold rush era, who is rescued from bondage by a man named Michael Hosea. The plot follows their trials and tribulations during their marriage and their walks with God, both together and apart.

This book convicted me. Judgement, jealousy, lust, being unforgiving, this books has it all. It’s also filled with redemption, love, hope, light, beauty, and all things Heavenly. I would go into detail, but that would ruin the story.

Read it. I bought it on my Kindle, otherwise I’d lend it to you. Did I mention how great it is? This book kept reminding me of the song “A Mighty Fortress” sung by Christy Nockels. It says, “Our God is jealous for His own, none could comprehend His love and His mercy” and “A mighty fortress is Our God, a sacred refuge is Your Name. Your kingdom is unshakeable. With You, forever, we will reign.”

In the book, Angel starts to idolize and worship her husband, rather than give glory to God. That’s a huge problem that our culture refuses to acknowledge.  The first commandment in Exodus says we shouldn’t have any other god before Him. So if our faith is starting out idolizing the one who brought us into the light, we’re off to a bad start. God is jealous for you! When you choose things of this world over Him, He feels it! He knows that the best thing for us…is Him! And He wants that for us..that unrelenting love.

Romans 7:19 says “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.” Is that you? Really unpack that verse.

Let’s be real: we know what good things are. We know the differences between good and evil, right and wrong. We want good and we don’t want evil. So why do we continue allowing evil in, even though we’re completely aware of the good things we could be doing. Follow me?

Are you “dying of thirst by the side of the fountain?” (Charles d’Orleans)

-Caitlyn

Listening to: Christy Nockels’ “Life Light Up” album

I also love these Rivers novels: “The Mark of the Lion” series, “A Lineage of Grace” and “Sons of Encouragement.”

something beautiful. (insecurity: part 2)

It’s been a while since I talked about Beth Moore’s book “So Long, Insecurity”, so here we go.

It’s high time we got our dignity back. Let’s just be real, here. How long has mankind (or womankind, for that matter) stood by the wall and said, “Oh, it’s cool. I don’t need my security. No one else out there has it. I’m good”? Whoa. I feel like there are secure people out there, even if they’re by backroads in Timbuktu. They’re there somewhere and I plan on joining them someday. Take the journey with me. We’ll only get there through the Father, but He’s ever willing to lend a hand.

Proverbs 31:25 says, “She is clothed with strength and dignity…”. Now that’s good Joe.

Now, read it again. But really READ it this time. Read each word.

Think about it. Ponder away, my friend.

—————————————————————–

Let’s break it down, shall we? I guess I should say “unpack.” I love when speakers say that. It makes me feel like we’re going camping. Which is intense. Get it? Intense…in tents…yeah. Alright.

She is clothed with strength and dignity.

She

Beth talks in her book about how Scripture has a bit of a preference for male gender references, which is no big deal to her…or to me, for that matter. Sure, the body of believers is referred to as the “sons of God”, but we’re also “the bride of Christ.” I feel like we’re equal in that stature. In this passage, however, God uses “she” which is clearly, significantly female. This passage is meant for the female journey.

Is Clothed

“We are not nearly as likely to react with the same level of insecurity when we remember how well covered we are by God” (BM). God’s love covers us like a security blanket. That feeling of being overexposed is almost unbearable sometimes. Do you know that feeling? When it seems like there’s a spotlight on you with a little dry-erase board propped up by your side listing everything you don’t want people to know? I’m pretty visual…so that’s what I’m seeing in my head right now. Walk with me, here. We forget that God’s love is so vast and unmeasurable, it covers us and then some. There’s leftovers! There are scraps for us to use on other people. I don’t like referring to leftovers of God’s love as scraps…but it goes with the visual.

With Strength

Strength is a huge part of the journey towards security. “Nothing makes a woman feel weaker than insecurity” (BM).  Ain’t that the truth, ya’ll! Oh, I went there. Insecurity has a way of making us cower back into the corner and wait for the storm to pass. There is nothing weak about Jesus Christ, though. Isaiah 40:31 says, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” Renew! Fresh and new every morning, yet strong and everlasting. “If Christ is your Savior, sister, you are completely covered by a cloak of strength” (BM).

And Dignity

Did you know that the word translated “wife” in most versions of Proverbs 31:10 is a word that also simply means “woman”? This section is commonly titled “The wife of noble character.” In the context of verses 10-31, the woman was married, so the translation of “wife” worked well. However, these verses work for an unmarried woman, as well. Win for the singles! We get to have dignity, too! We can be women of noble character. That tagline doesn’t come after a wedding. The Bible talks about how God crowned us with dignity (Psalm 8:5), which is really cool. “He wrapped it as a crown right around our minds, just where we need it most” (BM). However, dignity isn’t something we always feel like a warm beanie on our heads. It’s something we have to claim because it is, literally, our God given right.

You are clothed with strength and dignity. I am clothed with strength and dignity.

There are a lot of gifts that are given to us from the Father. Many of them, we’ll never stare in the face and accept. Security is definitely one of those. There’s an enemy out there that wants us to flee from strength and dignity, and sometimes that enemy is the one looking back at us in the mirror. Why do we run from security, friends?

2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

-Caitlyn

Listening to: Christy Nockels. She’s the woman.

*(BM) means the quote is from Beth Moore’s book, “So Long, Insecurity.”