By Mary Wenzl
I have really enjoyed the time I have spent each Tuesday morning in a woman’s bible study and value this time greatly. It has been a special joy to spend my time in a community of women who are also striving to increase their knowledge of God through His Word, and to learn how to equip ourselves for the daily struggles that life brings to us all. I joined the women who studied about the Daniel Prayer this Winter/Spring session. I learned a lot about how to improve my prayer life in this study.
The study groups I have participated in on Tuesday mornings have been very beneficial to me, but equally important has been the time I have spent with other women worshiping in the opening session each week. At one of these opening sessions, a booklet was handed out to all the women, entitled BOLD WORDS for Women of Influence. I found this small booklet to have great value to me–an enrichment for my bible study time.
I must admit that when I first took the booklet home it sat on my bedside table, unopened, until I found myself unable to fall back to sleep one night. I often get up several times during the night for a leisurely stroll to the bathroom. Sometimes when I lay back down I cannot immediately go back to sleep. On one such occasion, I reached for the booklet on my side table and started to read through it. This became almost a nightly habit for me as I would slowly read over 2 to 3 verses in the booklet, pondering each in turn, until I was ready to go back to sleep.
Reading and pondering on God’s word helped quiet my mind and was food for my soul. I keep a pen by my bed and would mark an “X” by verses that had special meaning for me, so I could study them more thoroughly later. I found it more enjoyable and meaningful to just read a few verses at a time instead of trying to read the whole booklet in one sitting. Several verses impacted me. “Wow” verses I will call them, because they gave me new insight on a topic, or spoke to issues happening in my life right now. I will share a few of these verses with you later in this blog.
The booklet has been helpful as a supplement to the Daniel Prayer study. One of the things I learned in this study was how to enrich my prayer life by using scripture as a basis for my prayers. We learned the importance of holding God to the promises He has made in his Word so we can pray intentionally. I was able to identify numerous verses in the booklet I can use as a template in my prayer life to formulate more effective prayers.
As I mentioned previously, I would mark some of the verses I read for later, more in-depth study. Some of the verses spurred me to create my own mini bible study! I would read the verse and draw my own conclusions about the meaning of the passage. Sometimes I would feel compelled to read over the entire chapter containing the verse to get the background story for the verse, and to understand better the full meaning of the passage. On a couple of occasions I discovered that my initial impression of the passage’s meaning was incorrect when I read it in context of the whole chapter. I also delighted in comparing different Bible translations of the same verse in order to find a deeper meaning or just to find out which version ‘spoke’ to me more. This is where having a smart phone with a Bible App became useful! I highly recommend the YouVersion Bible App as it was easy to compare numerous translations simultaneously.
In preparing to write this blog, I reread the whole booklet, beginning to end. I am a detailed oriented person. I like to place things in order, so I ended up categorizing the verses that held special meaning for me. By categorizing the verses, I will be able to reference them for possible future memorization (always a goal I have for myself but rarely have reached), and for future in-depth study. I am sometimes called upon to teach a lesson in Celebrate Recovery, which meets on Friday nights at LBC. I like to include meaningful bible verses to help enrich the lessons and will be able to use this booklet as a resource when writing up a new lesson. It helps to give freshness to the lessons as we repeat the lesson topics each year.
Here are the main categories I identified in the booklet, including some of my favorite verses:
- Evangelism: I believe that the Bible teaches that one of our main purposes as Christians is to spread the gospel to others. These verses help to remind me of this purpose and will help me fulfill it. My favorite one is a verse which I also believe I can use as a template when praying for people that I am hoping will find their way to believe in Christ: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe,” Ephesians 1:18-19 (NIV).
- Trusting God: I believe I need to trust God by surrendering to His will and placing my total dependence on Him. One of the verses I liked in this category comes from Psalm 60:1-2 (NLT) “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” I also like Philippians 4:13 (NIV) “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”
- God keeps me safe: God is my refuge and I can depend on Him to keep me safe at all times and in all places. “But you O Lord, are a shield around me: you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the Lord, and He answered me from His holy mountain. I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me.” Psalm 3:3-5 (NLT). My favorite verse in this category is from Isaiah 40:31 (NLT) “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength, they will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” This also is one of the verses I compared in different Bible translations and found I really liked the MSG translation best. I encourage you to read it yourself and see if it inspires you too.
- CR (Celebrate Recovery): Quite a few verses in the booklet talk about trusting God to transform our minds and heal us of the hurts and wounds caused by our past. My favorite is found in 2 Corinthians 4:16 (MSG) “So we’re not giving up, how could we? Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace.” Another favorite verse is found in Matthew. My reading of the whole chapter led me to discover that I liked a longer version of the verse quoted in the booklet from Matthew 11:28 (NASB): “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” I would add verses 29 and 30 to this: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” I also found that the MSG translation would be particularly good to use for evangelism. Check the MSG translation out for yourself and see if you agree with me.
- Christian community: The importance of community in Christian life has been a big emphasis in the sermons at LBC in this past year. I consider the women who attend Equip Her to be an important part of my community. The booklet verse that has had the most impact on my life falls in this category. Colossians 2:2-3 (MSG) states, “I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds, confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God’s mystery.” What a beautiful way to describe the Christian community as “a tapestry of love.” I visualize a magnificently woven rug, full of vibrant colors and intertwined silken threads. I see myself as one of those silken threads woven into the fabric here at LBC. My thread touches the threads of the teachers of all of the classes I have attended here at LBC, and the threads of all of the preachers of God’s word (our Pastors). The knowledge I have acquired over the years has given me confidence in my salvation and in the love of Christ for me. I can rest my mind and soul in this knowledge; I truly experience daily the “peace that passes all understanding” because I am woven into a tapestry of love.
- A few final categories include . . . Hope: “He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’” Matthew 17:20 (NIV); God’s Love: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares he Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV); and How to live a Godly life: “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:6 (KJV).
I hope you have found the booklet, BOLD WORDS for Women of Influence, as meaningful to your personal bible study time as I have. If it is still sitting on your bedside table unread, pick it up and start to read it! It is a gem.