Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My Testimony and Bible Study

I adore studying the Bible.  I never in a million years thought I would so love it, in fact.  I used to be the gal that thought the Bible was boring and totally irrelevant to today.  That was when I was a lot younger and dumb.  Seriously, I was dumb because I had no knowledge of His word.  Hosea 4:6 says that God's people are destroyed because of their lack of knowledge, and I was fast on my way, on that path to destruction.

But then life happened and when I was at my wit's end, I had nowhere else to turn but to God.  At the time of all this, I was twenty-eight and in the choir at Memphis First Assembly of God.  We went on a choir retreat and I can remember a sweet lady named Ana grabbing hold of my face and telling me, "It's okay.  Whatever you have done, whatever is in your past, it's okay.  Jesus loves you and wants you to come home."

And I did and never looked back.  (How horribly sad that I was that old, but it was all part of God's plan.)

I underwent a massive change from the inside out during and after that weekend choir retreat.  I was a smoker and immediately quit, cold turkey.  God totally took away my cravings for cigarettes when I asked Him.  I found K-Love and listened only to that radio station.  I started a Bible study, my first ever, right away when we got home.  I will never forget that study and that precious group of ladies.  We did Beth Moore's study on Daniel.

And to this day, that was one of the most difficult studies I have ever done.  How funny that it would be my first, but looking back in that book and on the notes I took, I know that God gave me the wisdom during that time.  I had zero knowledge on the word of God~sure, I knew certain memory verses from when I was a young girl, but other than that, that was all I knew.  Therefore, what I was able to complete in that study, was all given to me by God.

That study changed the rest of my life.  I was hungry and thirsty for the word of God.  I literally could not get enough of it and was constantly reading my Bible.  My kids began to witness that change in me, and I am thankful~I also believe that the Lord erased what memory of me they might have had of the "old me".  And yes, I believe God can do that.  My choir director and his wife became my spiritual mentors and some of my dearest friends.  They sensed a change in me as well and took me under their wing.  Kathy led me in Bible study and Kent began to mentor me by suggesting books for me to read, along with my Bible.  One of my most prized possessions today is from them~it's a beautiful leather bound copy of a book by Beth Moore.  Kent encouraged me to come to Tuesday night prayer meetings with just a handful of other people and he put me into a leadership role in choir.  He also totally surprised me one day by telling me that I was going to sing on the worship team that morning~how he even knew that I could carry a tune was beyond me, because I never even sang for him until two or three years later.  And that was back in the days before practice took place for Sunday mornings.  We would meet in the choir room, pray and afterward, he would look around at who was there to determine who would help him lead worship.  He believed in me, though, Kent, and he put into action the plan that he saw God had in my life.

I was heartbroken when they moved to California, but thanks to social media, I can still keep in touch.  This is that one part of heaven I look forward to~when we see all our old friends from the past, the ones who sharpened us and meant so much to us.

Now, a full decade later, I have retained my love for the word of God, and I am always currently in a Bible study, thanks to our homeschool group, Renewed Moms.  When Renewed Moms is on break, I do a study on my own.  I still love to do Beth Moore studies~nobody else paints pictures for me with her words like this woman of God and I love when I get to hear her speak at an event, like the one this past August.  But I have also come to love a new way of studying the Bible, and that is by doing a Precept Study by Kay Arthur.  There is no comparison between these two types of Bible study, they are like night and day.  I do love both kinds and I don't believe one is any better than another, but the Precept study is way more difficult.  Instead of being brought to a certain truth in the homework time, the Precept way makes you find that truth on your own, through other passages of Scripture.  (The picture below was me this morning, spread all over my comfy chair, completing my Bible study homework before we start back tomorrow.)


Like I said, I love to study God's word both ways and will continue to do both.  Any time spent in the word of God is valuable, and I know that His word never returns void.  It accomplishes in us exactly what He wants it to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11).  If you desire to get to know God through the love and reading and studying of His word, ask Him for it!  I cannot tell you how many times I have made this verse my prayer: "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God."  That is from Psalm 42:1.

If you have never been a part of a Bible study before, I would love to encourage you to start one.  If you have a church you call home, start with them.  If you don't have a church home and are local to me, try mine.  I just got an email from our womens department telling of all the options there are this semester.  I go to Collierville First Baptist Church, and there is a day and a time for any and every schedule known to man.  Google the website and check it out for yourself.  If you don't have a church home and are not local to me, try a church near you!  Just a word about churches though~make sure it's Bible believing and that nothing they say add or subtracts from the word of God.  And lastly, if you want to do one on your own, there are many options from Lifeway Christian bookstore.  You don't have to watch the video sessions that go with them and you don't have to be in a group to study.  A word about that, though, as well~a group setting provides accountability and sweet fellowship with like minded people.  I would encourage you to find a group.  Some of my best friends have come from meeting them through Bible study.

If you still need help or suggestions, email me at allboys@gmail.com.  I would be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

One last word of encouragement~think about your testimony.  The above is not all of mine, there were many events that led me to the point of complete surrender that I left unsaid, but this was the gist of how things went in my life.  After you have thought about your testimony, write it down!  I have written this down so many times I have lost count.  Think about it often, because it strengthens and builds your faith, and it can point others to wanting the same thing in their lives.  I pray that mine does that for someone~that they want what I have in my relationship with Jesus.  I pray for that person, that the Lord would draw them to Himself and that all this would be for His glory.  Everything that I am today is because of Jesus.  Without Him, I am worse than nothing.  After you've done all that, share it with someone.  If that's me, well then, I would be honored.

I pray that your mind is stirred and that the Lord inspires you to do the same.

Love to all.

4 comments:

Kim said...

I love you, Jennifer. I love your love for Jesus and His word and His people. I love your sincere, genuine, earnest, real, without hypocrisy, authentic faith. It does not go unnoticed - by your Lord or your children or your sisters in the faith. Thank you for faithfully sharing your life her on this blog.

3jays said...

Thanks for sharing my sweet friend!!!

Jennifer Goodwin said...

Oh my goodness, Kim! Thank you so much for those precious words! If all of my life lived out is just to point ONE person to my sweet Jesus, than it is all worth it. The Lord laid on my heart a few months ago to share my story on here. I was a little slow to obey, wasn't I? I pray he will use it for His purpose. I pray, pray, pray that my kids will share this same faith with me. Not just for right now, but for every single day of their lives. Love you, my sweet friend!

Jennifer Goodwin said...

You are most welcome, Ester!

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