Patience of God

I had my grandsons this last week for five days.  I love them.  They are amazing!  Andros is 4 and Kalan is 2, and they are sincerely so smart and funny!  But they WORE. ME. OUT.  Especially Kalan!  I didn’t realize just how much they are always on the go until I watched Kalan run in circles around the island of our kitchen for almost 23 minutes.  And I’m not exaggerating; it was hysterical!  He would take a turn around, go past our dog, Ruger, say ‘Scuse me’ and keep going around and around.

I don’t know where he has the energy.  However, the one thing I noticed because he’s non-stop is that my patience would start to wear thin.  He wasn’t doing anything wrong, but when a child that’s so focused wasn’t paying attention to what I was saying, I would start to get irritated trying to rein him in.

Thank goodness for a God who is patient with us!  Over and over in the bible, it says that He is slow to anger, gracious, and loving.  And that’s even after we run around and do what we want to do without paying attention to His words and commands!

Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;” –Exodus 34:6

“But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindess and truth.” –Psalm 86:15

“’And rend your heart and not your garments.’”  Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindess and relenting of evil.” –Joel 2:13

“who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.” –1 Peter 3:20

Even when the Lord was waiting for repentance from the people in the days of Noah, or when the Israelites were complaining in the wilderness, and when Jonah ran and hid (unsuccessfully), He had patience and gave time for them to repent and to turn back to Him!  He did not just immediately get mad and cut them off.  He gave us opportunity to walk our way back to Him and His ways.

I thank God for the patience that He has for us!  I’m thankful that He’s not like us where we can fall so quickly to irritation and getting upset.  I pray that this week we can see the patience of God in His love for us and model that towards those around us.

~Erin

Sweet Kalan who loves to run me ragged!

Selfish Prayers

I was thinking about prayer a lot today.  Tomorrow, Peyton turns 18, and I’ve prayed with her every morning before school (whether she wanted to or not).  I’ve prayed for her when she’s hurting.  I’ve prayed for her when she’s had victories.  And now, my prayer changes ever so slightly as she ventures into the realm of ‘adulthood.’

Prayers in general tends to be a hot topic.  We were talking about it a few weeks ago during Table 8’s weekly Bible study.  The discussion of what constitutes a good prayer and how often we don’t take things to God for ourselves because it feels selfish or trivial was on the table.

I was thinking about that later that night.  I don’t believe it’s wrong to pray for something that you want.  Clearly in the Bible, there are passages that tell us that we are tell God what we want.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” –Philippians 4:6

“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” –James 1:6

There are even great examples of people who prayed for things that they wanted.  Paul asked the Lord to remove the thorn is his flesh three separate times and God denied the request.  He told Paul that His grace was sufficient and to find strength in his weakness (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).  Hannah prayed for a baby, and she was finally made pregnant with baby Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11).  Jesus Himself prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane for God to take the cup from Him before He was tortured and ultimately killed (Mark 14:36).

The important thing to remember when we are seeking God in prayer for things that we want, is to recognize and allow for the answer that God gives.  The answer from God will be His will, not necessarily ours.  While we may be thankful for the response that He gives us to a request for some things, we may not like the answer on others. 

We must also understand that if God’s answer is the opposite of what we want or desire in an answer, we are not to take over and ‘make it happen.’  I’ve been guilty of this so many times in my life.  I think I know the answer, God is clearly closing the door, and I still manufacture the outcome, because I’m pretty sure I know better than God…how ridiculous does that sound?!

I pray, dear friends, that as you seek the Lord this week that you share with Him what you want.  Nothing is too trivial for God to hear.  He desires for you to bring it to Him.  Then wait for His answer and trust the outcome.  His way is always the right way!

~Erin

Your Biblical Arsenal

From the time my children were little, they were taught gun safety.  They are aware of the ways in which to handle and carry a gun.  They know how to load and shoot guns, as well.  It was important as their parent for Chris to teach them how to use and take care of guns responsibly.

While I don’t believe in a “zombie apocalypse,” it HAS been the running joke for years that we need to have protection, know how to defend ourselves in the event of an attack and what an arsenal would look like in a situation like that. 

This makes me think of our own personal Biblical arsenal.  The Bible is the sword of the Spirit.  It is the part of the Armor of God that allows protection against the devil’s schemes and attacks against us.  It is to be used at all times!  A biblical arsenal can be a book of scripture or your actual Bible that you have with you.  Maybe you have a notebook that you’ve written some verses down in or a Bible study book that you keep handy.

Many verses in the Bible speak to knowing scripture and having scripture handy as a necessity.

This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will achieve success.” –Joshua 1:8

“I have treasured Your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.” –Psalm 119:11

“The Law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.” –Psalm 37:31

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” –Colossians 3:16

I know that I write a LOT about knowing scripture.  I do this twofold. 

The first, because I know how important it is to have a Biblical arsenal handy in times of struggle, attacks, and trials.  I can’t stress enough how calming it feels when a verse that you’ve memorized or read dozens of times pops into your head courtesy of the Holy Spirit during a time of need.  It’s comforting.  It feels like confidence.  It feels as if you’re not alone.  It also opens up the opportunity to take a moment to pray and thank God for the arsenal He’s given.

The second, because I need the reminder even now.  And I know I’m not the only one that needs this reminder.  It’s work to look up and learn verses.  But it’s work that isn’t regretted. 

When you are struggling to find joy in your day and the Holy Spirit lays on your heart Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” it allows for a moment to reflect and give praise to our Father.  It allows a change of direction in our attitude.  When we feel the attack of the devil, perhaps one of the verses you’ve got in your arsenal is “Go away, Satan!  For it is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only,’” Matthew 4:10, the words of Jesus to Satan.

If you’re not great at memorizing, I’d like to suggest something that has worked for me for years.  I’ve carried with me 3×5 spiral-bound notecards.  I found it in Walmart and started writing verses in it that were important to me.  There are verses about salvation and verses about God’s love.  There are verses like the previous ones mentioned.  There’s verses in it about prayer.  They are simply my own hand-written biblical arsenal that I can carry to help me through at a moment’s notice.

I encourage you to put together your own arsenal!  Let us know in the comments below what your biblical arsenal looks like!

~Erin

Appalachian Trail Conversation

I hiked last week.  A lot.  Emily is training towards a monumental goal in a couple of years, and so on occasion I’ll go on hikes with her.  And what I really mean is, we were on vacation and I had nothing better to do, so I let her take me all over northern Georgia area and got sweaty.

Now, anyone that knows me knows that I’m not shy, never have been and I never will be.  And on this particular day, she had picked a hike that was actually part of the Appalachian Trail (AT).  Because I know her goal, I make it my mission in life to talk to anyone that looks like a “serious” hiker.  If you don’t know what a serious hiker looks like, they have a pack that looks too heavy (even though it’s usually not), a bedroll or tent attached to make the pack look even bigger, filters or Life Straws in water bottles, great hiking boots, hair maybe a little messy, you get what I’m throwing down.

It was a great hike orchestrated by Emily.  However, there was a moment that God orchestrated that day that we simply would never have imagined on our own—a moment that you know was simply the hand of our Maker.

We walked around two miles of this particular stretch called Hog Pen Gap and were headed back to where we came from.  The group got separated and Chris and I ended up bringing up the rear at about 5-10 minutes behind Emily.  As we were walking, we passed a woman who looked like one of those serious hikers.  We exchanged hellos, but as she passed us, she stopped, turned around, and inquired about whether there was a water source ahead going in her direction. 

That led to a small conversation with her.  She was, in fact, one of those serious hikers!  She explained she was “couch-to-trail” meaning no training.  She just got up one day, decided she wanted to hike the AT, made a few plans, put some stuff together and hit the trail!  She then explained that she was hiking by herself and that one of the hardest parts of hiking that way was the loneliness that sets in.  She said in one stretch, she went four days without seeing another soul!  As she spoke, I felt the Holy Spirit nudging.  I wanted her to know that she wasn’t alone.

I asked her for her name.  She said “Rochelle.”  I said to her, “Rochelle, I don’t know if you’re a believer, but I am, and I’m going to be praying for you on this journey.  I want you to know that you have people everywhere rooting for you.  And I’ll be praying that you won’t feel alone.”  She replied she was and thanked me.  Before we left, I told her Emily was right up the trail and I was going to tell her about Rochelle, too.  I told her I was going to have Emily look her up on the Appalachian Trail FB groups to find her and we would be rooting for her and praying for her!  And then we went our separate ways.

When I got back to the car and told Emily, she knew exactly who I was talking about!  She’d seen her on the trail, but hadn’t really had a chance to talk.  And wouldn’t you know, that going off of only her first name and a guess of the way it was spelled, we found her on FB among dozens of Rochelle’s in about five minutes later that day!  We were able to connect with her, shoot her a word of encouragement and keep up with her journey!  God knew exactly what He wanted when He planned that moment.

You see, maybe that moment was meant for Rochelle.  Maybe God wanted her to hear from another sister in Christ that she wasn’t alone and to be encouraged.  But I think that moment was just as much for me.

While I’m no stranger to strangers, it still takes courage to talk about God to people.  I constantly have to exercise that commandment, and it means sometimes I have to open the conversation and be willing to be vulnerable.  In today’s culture, while we don’t have it as bad as the apostles did with persecution and stoning, we still have to be prepared for rude remarks, demeaning comments, and ridicule.  It can be nerve-wracking!

The bigger lesson, however, to me was a reminder that even when we feel alone, we are never really alone. 

I’ve been walking through some very rough waters these last few months.  Just read a few of my blogs since March, and you’ll understand my need to completely rely on God.  I know there are many people around me that are doing and feeling the same.  It can feel lonely and discouraging, wishing the heartache would just stop.  We want God’s miracle and we want it now because the feeling of being alone in the storm feels so heavy.

Because of that moment with Rochelle, I was reminded of a verse in the Bible that I can hold on to in those moments, Isaiah 41:10.

“Do not fear, for I am with you;

Do not be afraid, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you, I will also help you,

I will also uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

We do not have to feel alone.  Our greatest strength, our Heavenly Father, is with us as we navigate through sickness, mental health, and despair.  He hasn’t left our side as we struggle through marital problems and job worries.  And He even walks with us when we’re alone on the Appalachian Trail.  Even when we feel the heaviness, we can be assured that He will carry the burden and that He will uphold us.  We never have to do it alone. 

I pray, Iron Porch, that each of us always feel His presence in our moments of loneliness. 

~Erin

Modifications

On Memorial Day this year, I joined several other people at the gym I attend and we completed the Murph WOD.  This particular workout is in honor of a serviceman who gave his life for our country.  It is difficult.  It consists of a 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, and another 1 mile run. 

Seeing as how I can barely get myself to a regular workout, I had prepared myself for only doing part of it.  However, somewhere towards the end, I was challenged by Emily to just finish it out.  And we did…together!  It was a big accomplishment to me.

When I went home to tell my husband, I explained to him about how I had modified some of the exercises (because I’m certainly not strong enough to do 200 straight pushups).  But when I really started to think about how much work I had done, I thought, “why am I minimizing my accomplishment just because it doesn’t look exactly like everyone else’s?”  Modifications are meant to be for those who want to do it but may not be capable of doing it the ‘standard’ way!  I should be proud and I don’t need to explain to someone how I had to make some changes to make it work for me.

I think about how this compares in memorizing scripture.  We work on memorizing a verse.  We repeat it over and over again, but we still need to see a word to get the rest of it out.  Maybe we have to sing it because that’s how we’ve been taught to memorize.  You could have to record your own voice, reading the verse and then listening to it!  I’ve seen multiple ways of learning something.  I’ve also seen where it just simply takes someone longer to memorize than others.  We see it as a weakness, something we have to explain away because it’s not the way everyone else does it.

I encourage you, dear friends, be proud of the studying and growing you are doing with the scripture memory.  Learning the Word of God is not a one size fits all.  What helps one may not help the other.  What matters is that you have committed to hiding God’s Word in your heart.  You have a desire to grow closer to God and understand what He says.  That is key to maturing your walk with Him!

Tell us in the comments below your best study method for memorizing scripture, and let us know which verse you’ve memorized!  And if you have memorized one yet, let us know in the comments which one you’d love to start with.  You’ll never regret it!

~Erin

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not see against Thee.” –Psalm 119:11

Prayer for the Hurting

I was just listening to the radio and they were speaking of the innocent children that were killed in Texas.  It’s just devastating.  I can’t even pretend to put myself in the shoes of those parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or community members to understand what they are going through. 

My first thought, if I’m being completely transparent, was to be grateful it didn’t happen at the school here, and the second thought was that I was glad all of my children have graduated.  Those thoughts don’t make me a bad person or a bad Christian.  They make me human.  However, in that moment directly following, I realized those thoughts hurt God’s heart and are sinful because they go directly against what the bible tells us to do.

Romans 15:1 says, “Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.

And Psalm 143:8 tells us, “Let me hear Your lovingkindess in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.

Both verses speak directly against what I thought.  My thoughts were built around fear and mistrust.  They were rooted in self and not rooted in Christ.  As believers, we are called to bear the weaknesses of those without strength.  I bet those family members, those friends, that community are without strength.  Suffering a senseless loss brings unimaginable pain, and during this time Christians are called to lift them up.

Perhaps it means to write a letter or send a card to them.  Maybe you’ve gone through something like this and can relate to them on a more personal level that can help.  It could possibly mean writing your representative or senator.  And it could mean that we just pray.  Pray hard.  Pray faithfully.  Pray fervently.

The second thought speaks directly to mistrust towards God.  I long for my children to always be safe, but the truth is, my children are His.  He knows the hairs on their heads and the last breaths they will take.  I must lay aside the fear and trust that God will see them through, no matter the outcome.  They’re safe from school now that they’ve graduated but it doesn’t mean that the same thing won’t happen in a local grocery store or outside a gas station.  I must trust Him in all things.  I will never be able to completely protect my children, but our God will protect them whether it’s this side of heaven or the other.

Please be praying for the victims’ families as they grieve.  Lift them up to the Lord and do it often.  My desire is that they will be so covered in prayer by believers all over this world that there will be a tangible feeling of God’s love surrounding them.

~Erin

Graduation

Tonight, my daughter Peyton will walk across the stage and accept her diploma from the principal of her high school.  After years of preparation, countless classes, and thousands of homework assignments and tests, she will be able to say she has completed what was required of her and graduate with the class of 2022.

Her journey has not been an easy one.  With school came hard work and battles that had to be faced.  There were requirements that felt difficult.  There were challenges and hurdles that needed to be overcome and there were times that she felt as if it was all for nothing.  But at the end of tonight, she will receive her congratulations for a job well done.

I think to what it will look like when I have completed my journey here on earth.  I long for the days when I can say as Paul did to Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;” –2 Timothy 4:7

When we reach the end of our lives, I will imagine we that we will feel very similar to how Peyton feels today.  We will have accepted Christ as our Savior, studied God’s Word and honored His commands.  Perhaps we felt like the assignment God laid out for us seemed unusual, but we did it anyway.  Maybe we failed at times…miserably failed…and then turned back to God, asking the Holy Spirit to lead us back on track.  I wonder if we would feel that we were ‘missing out’ on worldly things, knowing that we were called to be strangers in a foreign land.

And while we know that our journey was not an easy one, the reward we receive at the end of it all will be worth it.  The bible speaks to the inheritance that is ours as believers.  When we have completed our race, when we have finished the course, our diploma is an eternity in heaven with the Creator of everything!  We have no more sadness, no sickness, no pain.  We worship God and lay crowns at His feet!  We sing with angels! 

I can’t wait for the moment when I can stand before my Heavenly Father and He says to me, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” 

Today, while I congratulate Peyton and her classmates as they complete their journey of school, I pray that I never forget the journey of life that we must go through as Christians, knowing that we will be greeted and congratulated on a job well done when our time is done, too.

~Erin

The Beauty of Creation

Three weeks ago, I started my garden.  I plotted out what I wanted to plant and began the task of putting seeds in the soil to (hopefully) produce my family some vegetables!  I started with nothing but seeds; I didn’t do any starter plants this year, so I wasn’t sure how long it would take to see growth or if I would even actually see growth at all.

So far, I have not been disappointed!  I am astounded when I walk back there every night and see little green sprouts shooting up from the ground!  My Parisian pickling cucumbers are just stems and two leaves and my excitement would indicate they’re practically ready to harvest.  I just can’t believe how these little tiny seeds can be placed in dirt and watered and they can grow into food for us to enjoy at dinner!

This reminds me that nothing is created under the sun that isn’t created by God.  Genesis clearly tells us that He made heavens and earth, mountains, trees, grass, plants, animals and humans.  There isn’t a single thing on this planet that wasn’t orchestrated by God and it shows! 

I think of Psalm 96:11-12, “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; Let the sea roar, and all it contains; Let the field exult, and all that is in it.  Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy” where even His creation praises who He is.

“For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things.  To Him be the glory forever! Amen.”  Romans 11:36 tells us that He created that seed to go in the dirt that He brought into existence.  How awesome is our Father that every intricate detail was thought of and planned.

I think that too many times I overlook simple things like this.  It’s… “second nature” to me!  I walk through the woods or see trees or gardens and I don’t even think about the fact that it was designed with purpose.  It’s incomprehensible to my human mind how complex creation is, and yet, God spoke it into existence knowing exactly how it should be!

I pray that as we go through this week, that we stop and truly see the world around us that God has allowed us to be part of.  Sing with joy for the beauty that He has surrounded us with.  Praise Him for His creation!  What He has given us is beautiful.

~Erin

11 Pills

There’s this moment where you feel as if you’re the only one that has ever gone through this.  And that moment lasts for days, weeks, maybe months.  No one ever talks about it.  Maybe because you feel it’s not your story to tell.  Maybe because you feel embarrassed.  Maybe because you’re afraid you’ll be judged. But those thoughts couldn’t be further from the truth.  So here I am, ready to break this stigma wide open, because it needs to be done.  Particularly in the Christian community.  And I share it with the full support of Peyton.

On March 6th of this year, my sweet Peyton tried to kill herself.  Even writing it now makes me cry.  I never thought I’d be the parent who wrote those words.  But my daughter was so overwhelmed that she felt like the best option was to go to sleep and never wake up.  So she filled her small hand with pills, downed them with a glass of water and laid down. 

She has absolutely zero recollection of waking up about an hour later.  She has no memory of trying to go to the bathroom and talking to us…or attempting to.  She doesn’t recall the next hour of her dad and I trying to talk to her, putting her in the shower to see if she would be coherent, and us searching her room for the alcohol or drugs we were sure we would find.  

We thought she was drunk or high.  She’d sleep it off.  While I was going through her phone to see how she’d gotten the stuff, I made the single biggest mistake I think I’ll ever make in my life.  I opened her phone’s internet browser and I saw her search history, “How much amitriptyline do I take to overdose.”  And I thought, “WHAT A RANDOM THING TO LOOK UP.  NOT MY KID.” If it had been a neon sign, it would’ve blinded me and I still don’t think I would’ve acknowledged it.  Instead, I just kept looking for where she got the alcohol or drugs.

She laid in the living room on the couch asleep while I laid down on the love seat beside her, checking her throughout the night.

When she woke up the next morning, she was completely disoriented and didn’t understand why she was in the living room.  I looked at her and asked if she felt ok.  She said yes and just sat there for a moment before she looked up at me with tears in her eyes.

“Can I tell you something without you getting mad?” 

I said, “Tell me.”

“I tried to kill myself last night.” And she started to cry.

What we had witnessed was my daughter’s body reacting to an overdose.  Miraculously, despite my willful ignorance to her Google search, she survived.

When you’re going through a tremendously painful time like an attempted suicide, you’re not really sure who to call or talk to.  Which one of your friends will understand?  Who is going to judge you or your kid?  Who’s going to pray, and not just pray in passing but pray the host of heaven down on your child to heal her physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?  Who’s going to treat your child differently?  Who’s going to treat YOU differently?

There’s such a stigma attached to mental health and it can feel embarrassing.  But as Chris and I walked through the next 6 days of a trip to the ER followed by some inpatient time for Peyton on an adolescent psychiatric unit, we found out we weren’t the only ones.  We knew a surprising number of people who did or were going through the exact thing we were. 

It’s been two months since her attempt, and it’s been a process to work through healing for her as well as for us.  We find that the more candid we are with Peyton about what happened and what her feelings are currently, the more she feels ok to open up when she struggles.  We can’t put her in a protective bubble (which, believe me, I’d love to do) but we can ensure that we’re walking WITH her during this.  She now knows that she’s not alone in this fight because her entire family is here to fight with her.  In turn, this has allowed her to be very open about her mental health and attempted suicide with others.  She wants to know that her miraculous gift of failure in that attempt will help someone reach out before their attempt is a permanent consequence.

My walk with God is even more important than just walking with Peyton.  As a Christian mother, I know that God is bigger than trauma, than hurts, than depression.  He is bigger than the lies the devil tells her. 

These two verses are ones that I’ve held strong to since March.

“When you pass through the waters I will be with you;

And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,

Nor will the flame burn you.” –Isaiah 43:2

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” –John 16:33

I know that God is with us.  He sees her and He loves her.  And though there is a fight going on in her head and in her heart, He has not left her to fight this alone.  In fact, He wishes to fight on her behalf.  He wants to fight on my behalf.  I praise God that even though the world is often too invested in ‘self,’ He is invested in US.

If you are struggling with this in your home, please, I beg you, know that you are not alone.  Not only do you have a Heavenly Father who is 100% for you, you have friends here at the Iron Porch who understand and have walked in this valley, as well.  There is no judgment here.  There is no stigma here.  There is the love of a Savior and friends who stand with you.

~Erin

**If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.** 

Studying Revelation

Table 8 has talked for months, maybe even years, about studying the book of Revelation.  It’s been brought up casually, but I’ve never given it much thought.  Instead, after praying about what our next study would be, every time I would feel God leading us to a different book of the Bible. 

Emily has talked about studying Revelation.  She’s started and I’ve seen the copious amounts of notes she’s taken.  At one point, a church we went to was going through the book of Revelation while we were visiting.  It seems I can’t escape the book of Revelation…even though that’s an impossibility! (See what I did there?  Christian humor!)

In February, it got brought up again with Table 8 and I explained that I don’t know enough about the details of Revelation to go through the book as a leader.  Dianne replied, “You can learn along with the rest of us!  Just because you’re a leader doesn’t mean you have to have the answers up front!”  And, just like that, I felt the conviction to be leaning in.

You see, the reason I was never interested in digging deep into the book of Revelation was because the depth of the book actually scared me!  I know enough to know there’s a tribulation.  I’m confident I won’t be here when it takes place.  I know lots of PIECES due to excellent pastoral leadership throughout my life.  But to understand Bowl Judgments versus the Seals versus the Horsemen…it all just feels overwhelming!  Do any of you feel that way about studying this book of the Bible?!

However, Dianne was right.  While, as a leader, I’m responsible for knowing and understanding the material and guiding the women to better comprehend, it doesn’t mean I have to be the subject matter expert.  That’s what they create…mic drop…Bible study for!  There are dozens of great commentaries and study Bibles that can really teach you as you walk through Revelation.  I just have to be willing!

It’s so funny to me when I think about it.  I’ve been intrigued this last year or so with the idea of Christian Apologetics and learning from some great teachers, that I forgot that I can do the same as them!  I can read and study and grow in the knowledge of what the book has to say!  And lest you think the Bible doesn’t say something about that, 1 Peter 3:15 states “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

Peter is telling us that we should be ready to make an argument or defense FOR God at a moment’s notice.  Part of speaking to that hope that is in us involves not only who Jesus is and what He did for us, but what will be to come and what awaits us in heaven!  That is the full picture!

I was convinced.  Beginning in September, we’re going to be studying the book of Revelation.  I’m taking the time over the summer to learn more about it with Emily so that I can be at least a little prepared.  And Emily’s Tuesday’s Table is joining in to study Revelation alongside us!

I pray that if you’re on the fence about studying scripture, whether it be a verse or an entire book, do not be afraid like I was about what’s involved.  Studying brings maturity and with maturity comes a better understanding of what it says!  Let’s all get to cracking open the beautiful Word of God.

~Erin