I chose to go to a bible study that I was a regular attendee at for several years, but while I wanted depth I was not getting it and moved on. I also have an irregular work schedule that took me away for a time. I happen to think that God has everything planned out, and even my random choice to go the bible study was destined to be.
I walked in, and found everyone intently writing something down on paper. A couple of the men acknowledged me and one jumps up to give me a hug. I can be terrible at times, and so I started harassing them about taking a test and how the test is now over. They told me to wait and all would be explained in a moment, and I would get to take part.
The exercise is one that missionaries have told us that the Christians in a particular communist country, with limited bibles do.
They all copy the passage(s) exact, then recopy in a way that they might use to share this truth with others on the street, and then make a point of putting it into practice throughout the week.
Here is the passage:
Ephesians 4:17-24 NIV So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. (18) They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. (19) Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. (20) That, however, is not the way of life you learned (21) when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. (22) You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; (23) to be made new in the attitude of your minds; (24) and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Asked to rewrite this, possibly like Eugene Peterson might. I wrote this.
Because God is that important to me, and I am deeply concerned about the condition of your soul, I implore you to not live as the world does. I understand your want to be accepted and blend in, but you are choosing to follow their useless thinking when you do this.
Think about the things they say, it is proof that their way of thinking is clouded and their actions prove that God has no place in their lives. They will only bring you down to their level.
The pursuits of those that do not believe are evidence that they have given themselves over to selfish desires, and they do not care who they injure in the process.
Their greed consumes their every thought, as they go through life. It is only themselves that they think about.
But living a wretched life like this is not what I taught you. You have been taught to rise above.
Using Jesus as the example of a truthful, rich, full life I showed you that there is a hope and satisfaction in knowing Him.
Remember that I explained how you became remade at the moment you gave yourself to Christ; Christ, the one who loves you and gave himself for you, desiring only the best for you as you emulate his life.
Clinging to that old way can do nothing more than destroy any progress you have made in him.
Pursue him wholeheartedly, allowing Him to create a new image on the inside of you and watch the changes overwhelm you as he trains you to be the king you were meant to be.
We then had to read this back to the group.
I will tell you that I wrote as if God/Paul had talked to me, and I was in tears before I could finish writing. When I read it back I was in tears, because it spoke to me as well.
God moves through me as I give out words of encouragement to people.
This gift, if you must call it something, is not that difficult, for Revelation 19:20 tells us that the testimony of Jesus Christ, is the spirit of prophecy. Therefore, if you give someone encouragement from scripture, are you not prophesying over them. Declaring those things that be not, as though they were.
I stepped forward and spoke specifically into the lives of two men. Upon direction from the Holy Spirit I asked the younger of them, what is your dream and hope for the future? He responded with, I want to be a drug and alcohol counselor. I immediately stood to my feet, commanded him to stand, and when he did not, walked over to him, held out my hand, and lifted him up. I spoke words of life and wisdom over him, and anointed him by the laying on of my hands, to walk in the ways and wisdom of the Lord.
What will become of him? That is God s business, for I did my job.
I am writing this down as a legacy and instructions.
God has called you forth, and you have struggled, not knowing what to do or who to ask. There may be no one human that will be able to give you the answers that you desire outside of the Holy Spirit, and there will be more than enough detractors, telling you that you cannot.
You are going to have to learn to trust the Holy Spirits ability to speak into your life. Ask him to speak to in simple matters, He will. You will then have act upon those things. Do not get stupid on me, be real and reasonable. You already know when to use the toilet, but there is no doubt that He can use that moment as well.
There is nothing that we do that does not have God's hand involved.
Peter stood before the crowds, many of them detractors, and said,
Acts 2:13-17 NIV Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine." (14) Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. (15) These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! (16) No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: (17) "'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
The last days are upon us, and that certainly includes you.
Now is the time for those who have the calling upon them, and those who want the best that God has to offer, to step forward. Be bold, and brave.
Will you suffer for it? No doubt. Killing off God s anointed has always been the response of the non-believing religious zealots.
Live for Him like there is no tomorrow. You will find it to be the most exhilarating thing you have ever done in your life.
About the Author: I am a Christian, raised in a Pentecostal church, and I miss the fire. I believe that the fire has long gone out, and I write in an effort to relight the flame. This year I am 58, I may start subtracting next year, but this it to be seen. Yep, I am divorced, but then who isn't ? Sure, I have made some horrid mistakes, along with the ordinary ones, but here is my take on this. This path that God has taken us on is part of what made us who we are. Think of like some nasty looking branch that gets thrown into the surf. By the time you find me rolling around on the beach, I have been smoothed, polished by the sand and rocks (and yes, some of that hurt), but now I am a thing of beauty that gets hung in an artists gallery for everyone see. I suspect that is really who we are, if you think about it. Yes, I know the pounding waves made you think you were going to drown, but you didn't. And yes, I know that the grinding of the sand and rocks really irritated, but they were there to polish you. Allow God to complete his work, while you listen to his voice, and get to yours. Move out in faith and watch what can happen. You can find me on the web at http://omharris.wordpress.com