Knowledge and Understanding

This is the last passage inspired by the prompts at the end of chapter seven of Writing in the Margins.  It’s fitting because I am feeling ready to turn a new chapter in my life.  It feels like it has been a long winter and today is the first day of spring!  Even though it is snowing where I live I am really feeling the hope and lightness of a new season today!  I love this passage:

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom from the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity.-Proverbs 2: 6-7

Maybe because we just celebrated St. Patrick’s day, but this passage really reminded me of St. Patrick’s breastplate.  I love reading this prayer out loud and just soaking up the knowledge that we are completely and totally surrounded by Christ in all that we do, wherever we go.

And it is a knowing! Not something anyone can really teach.  I’ve been reflecting on the idea that wisdom is a combination of knowing, which comes to us as we spend time in communion with God, and understanding, which comes to us as we spend time with others who have more intellectual knowledge than us and have something to teach us.  I love that the Bible teaches the importance of both knowledge and understanding.  For whatever reason, our society today seems to put more emphasis on what can be agreed upon and taught versus personal knowing.  For me spending time just doodling in the Word is a way of correcting the imbalance, rolling around and playing in the goodness of God’s Word!

I turned the page to start reading the next chapter.  I love this quote from Lisa Nichols Hickman and just wanted to share it right here, right now:

What’s wonderful about the margins is their potential for discovery, creativity, and daily joy.  The margins offer a place for faith to develop in clarity and deepen in mystery.  The margins offer a place for hope to gain security, grace to gain awareness, and wisdom to find its ground.  The margins are a place for love to be nurtured into actuality.

If you’ve stumbled upon my blog because you are interested in starting to journal in your Bible, just get started!!!  It brings so many wonderful blessings!

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The Hard Part of Being a Preacher

Well, I’ve reached the end of six passages, which Lisa Nichols Hickman selected for the purpose of reflecting on the question:  God, what are you preparing me for?

Today’s verse comes from the book of 2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

That’s a crazy hard thing to do.  The few times I’ve been in a situation that called for rebuking—it was much harder on me than for the other parties.  And to have patience through it all!  That’s a tall order.  I was thinking about the difference between reproving, rebuking, and exhorting and just ended up with a few definitions in my margins.  A minister once said in a sermon, “It’s hard to be nice and be a preacher.”  When I heard him say that, I pondered and wondered what he meant.  After reflecting on this verse…I think I understand.  Saying an extra prayer for our church’s minister tonight!

004I was nervous to ask the question, “God, what are you preparing me for?”  I’ve reflected on six verses with that question in mind, and I’ve discovered that there are a number of vocations for which I am not at all prepared!  The closest I came to hearing God answer this question clearly for me was when I heard this version of Rich Mullins singing “Step by Step” (after I searched for his song about how many rooms there are in the Father’s house).  I feel like I can sing these lyrics with all my heart:  “Step-by-step you’ll lead me.  And I will follow you all of my days.”

I am finding that I just can’t get enough of Rich Mullins, may God bless his soul, what a wonderful man.  I just watched him singing his most famous song:  “Awesome God.”  He introduced the song with this quote…

I always find it interesting to hear those who read the Bible so they can find answers.  Just about every time in my life I thought I found an answer, if I went back and read the Bible, it would blow it out of the water.  I’ve given up trying to find answers in the Bible and am looking in the Bible to meet the weirdest character of all, God Almighty himself.

So what is God preparing me for?  Not to be a prophet, a hero of faith, a missionary, or a preacher, but simply to meet God and know God, a beautiful answer for this is also my heart’s desire!

In My Father’s House

Lisa Nichols Hickman listed John 14:3 as another passage that speaks to the question of preparation and what God is preparing us for.

I love this passage.  Holding the image in my mind of Jesus coming to me and taking me to himself fills me with peace and joy.  We are so blessed as Christians to have these comforting words.  At some level, I know or deeply believe that God is preparing me for heaven—I just don’t have the sense that this will be any time soon.

I found inspiration in the artwork of Mary Blair as I reflected on this verse.

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And the whole time I worked on this page, I had this song stuck in my head…

The Hope that Is in Me

Still loving the question “God, what are you preparing me for?” as I reflect on this verse….

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When my grandmother moved to a retirement community, she reconnected with a high school friend who lived most of her adult years as a missionary in China.  When my dad asked what would make someone living there want to become Christian, she responded…”One word…hope.”  As I reflected on this verse, I was reminded of a conversation I had with a friend from college.  I said to her, “I don’t personally feel that I would make a very good missionary, but I have a hope I feel compelled to share.”  She responded simply “I think that’s just part of being Christian.”  Maybe it’s true for many of us Christians what we would like to give the world is simply more hope.  Maybe that’s what Christianity offers in a unique way most of all.