Abby was so excited. Her mission trip to a difficult-to-reach country had grown into a ministry leveraging technology to disciple the people there and to prepare them to share the good news of Jesus with others. Humbled that God would allow her to participate in what He was doing, Abby expressed it well, “Serving Jesus is such a joy!” In His love for us as His children, He draws us close to encounter what He is doing in the world. He opens our eyes to see more of His glory and our faith is grown as we experience Him answering prayers. I would agree with my friend Abby; it is a privilege to serve the Lord in any capacity.
At Big Dream Ministries, we have the opportunity to speak to many different ministry leaders around the country. They have a passion for helping people learn God’s Word and guiding them to understand how to apply it to their lives. Witnessing the Bible coming alive for students is so exciting. However, ministry can also be hard. At some point, the weight of ministry leadership grows heavy. As we care for people in our fallen world, any number of issues could threaten our joy of serving. It could be a conflict on our team, a loved one suffering greatly, a rebellious child, false allegations…the list could go on and on.
As the burden of leadership grows heavy, these challenges cause us to question whether God has really called us to the position. Reading about the Apostle Paul’s missionary journeys should encourage us that whether we are fighting fires, resolving conflict, or walking through difficult circumstances with one of our flock, we are probably right where we need to be.
In Acts 18:1-11, we read that Paul is nearing the end of his second missionary journey, when he arrived in Corinth. He met a Jewish couple, Aquila and Priscilla, who had been exiled from Italy and shared his vocational background of tent-making. He stayed with the couple and worked alongside them, taking time on the Sabbath to visit the local synagogue to persuade Jews and Greeks of the good news of Christ. We don’t read of Paul’s usual missional activity that was his practice when he arrived in a new town. In fact, he seems very low key until Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia with provisions (2 Corinthians 11:9). Who could blame Paul? He knew the eternal stakes for those he was trying to reach and was willing to lay down his life for them (Romans 9:3). Up to this point in his journey, he was chased out by locals, rejected by the Jews, and accosted by Judaizers, with beatings and stonings that jeopardized his life more than once.
As we marvel at all that Paul accomplished in spreading the news of Christ, we can see the work of the Holy Spirit enabling him to endure. From our busy 21st century view of Paul’s life, we could overlook that he too felt the burden of leadership. Even with the assurance from Christ of his mission (1 Corinthians 1:17), he confessed the weakness and fear he felt when he arrived in Corinth (1 Corinthians 2:3). After a bold denouncement of the Jews in the synagogue, Paul must have been shaken and afraid of the repercussions that would follow. But graciously, the Lord appeared to Paul in a vision saying “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:9-10). Can you imagine the encouragement that must have been?
When Jesus has called you into ministry, it will be exciting, but it will also be challenging. To endure, we strive for a tender heart for those we serve and tough skin to withstand the external opposition. We need to offer every bit of ourselves to the Lord, but seek to be filled with His strength. Ministry is doing all the work He has given us to do, while maintaining a posture of prayer. It is recognizing our own desperate need for a Savior in every moment of our lives that enables and equips us to tend to the needs of those He has given us to serve. It is His strength that fortifies us to do the work of ministry.
I have experienced the joys and challenges of ministry and I have learned several practical things we can do when our reserves are running low. The first is to rest. Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is take a nap and trust God with the mounting to-do list. Second, spend time reading the Bible. Not for lesson preparations or ministry engagement, but to let God’s Word speak freshly to you. Third, ask for prayer. Having a friend or two pray for you is a powerful hedge of protection. Fourth, ask the Lord for encouragement. He will surprise you with random moments of encouragement that let you know that He hears you and He is with you. Finally, unless the Lord makes it very clear, don’t quit. Your flock needs you. You are valuable to them. And you have been given a mission!
Remember, although ministry can be challenging at times, it is always exciting to serve the Lord.
You know how Saturdays are! Before starting any fun activities, you have a list of “must-do” chores that need be finished to make your work week flow smoothly. My husband and I had that kind of day recently. We were plowing through the last of our chore list before winding down to shower and watch a movie. My final task of putting away clean laundry and tidying the closet was underway. Without any warning or storm to blame, the electricity went out. After checking out any possible causes within our home, we realized the power outage was a problem with the whole neighborhood, and we called the electric company. It would be hours before it would be restored. It was starting to get dark outside so I got out our flashlights. They were small, but bright. Without thinking about it, I stood one of the flashlights on its end on the counter. The tiny beam of light suddenly illuminated the entire room as it bounced off of the white ceiling. It was great! Since a movie was now out of the question, we were able to enjoy reading our books from the glow of the single flashlight.
How impactful the small light became when it was positioned to maximize its purpose!
It reminds me of how much the dark world needs the Light of the world. We hear, or even experience for ourselves, news of loved ones getting a diagnosis that is not promising, of an addiction that causes families to crumble, or even destroyed relationships due to unreconciled strife. The list is endless of all the heaviness people deal with on a daily basis. However, as believers we have access to the Light people desperately need in our world. The Light of the world is Jesus (John 8:12).
The Bible teaches who Jesus is and provides wisdom to live in the light. Knowing Jesus makes a difference in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” – Matthew 5:14-15
As a believer, you are a light-bearer of Christ! You can make a difference by helping those around you see their situations a little more clearly. As you prepare to attend or lead a Bible study this fall season, consider sharing the Light with others by inviting those in your sphere of influence to join you in learning the Bible. Open the doors to those who are not believers, those who may be seeking, those who are hurting, or those who may need a friend.
Adopt an attitude of “the more the merrier.” You may never realize the impact of your willingness to put the “Light of the world” on a stand for all to see. Use your neighborhood bulletin board, social media group, or local newsletter to invite others to join you. Even better, send personal invitations to those you know. People will respond more positively to an invitation than simply seeing a posting about the details. We often hear testimonies of people who attended a Bible study only because a friend invited them, but they ended up loving the Word and the Lord.
To help facilitate sharing your BDM study, we have a brand new Facebook group called “Find a Study.” We encourage you to share your study information in this group or you can contact our office via email or phone with information about your study and how others should contact you. We regularly receive calls from people looking for a study in their area. Hopefully this information will be useful in pointing others to nearby studies that they can attend. Imagine how much darkness would be overcome if we all “remove the basket” from our study time and invite even more to join us. It is amazing how powerful a small light will be when placed for many to see!
Written by Kellye Rickman
Mary, a humble girl, was told she would be a part of God’s plan to send Jesus to earth. Imagine with me what that must have been like for her to experience Jesus, God Sent.
Have you ever experienced a time in your life when you had to make a choice between having faith or giving way to fear? Have you ever dreamed dreams for your life only to realize that God may be writing the story of your life differently than the way you had planned?
I certainly have.
My name is Mary and I am going to share an incredible story
My name is Mary and I am going to share an incredible story of when I had to choose between having faith or giving way to fear.
As a Jewish teenage girl living with my parents in northern Israel, my life was pretty ordinary. One day as I was doing my daily work around the house,sweeping my room and cleaning the floors, I began to daydream about my future. I was feeling so much joy and excitement, as I was thinking about my engagement and wedding day that was quickly approaching. I was going to marry the man of my dreams. Joseph was the most honorable and amazing man I had ever met. I was still amazed by the great blessing God was giving me in a husband. As I was thinking about Joseph, who was most likely already hard at work in his carpentry workshop,I knew that he would be a devoted provider for our family. I was dreaming about the home we would make, the children we would have, and what a wonderful life it would be.
And then– all of a sudden, the most amazing and unexpected thing happened! An angel of the Lord appeared. Yes, an angel from heaven standing in my room right before my very eyes. I was instantly terrified to the point of trembling. Probably much like you, I had never seen an angel. The experience was magnificent and completely breathtaking. The angel Gabriel had come with a message specifically for me.
An angel visiting a small-town girl like me?
Who would have thought? An angel visiting a small-town girl like me? The angel spoke and said, “Mary, you have found favor with God and the Lord is with you!”
My mind was reeling. It was hard to take it all in much less understand what this message meant. But the angel Gabriel spoke again and said for me not to be afraid, because I had found favor with God. He had come to deliver a message to me from God.
He went on, saying, “You will conceive in your womb and have a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
As my mind was trying to process what the angel was telling me, I was feeling confused because I knew that I was a virgin. It was hard to fathom how this would be possible.
Then the angel revealed the answer. Gabriel explained that the Holy Spirit would come upon me, and the power of the Most High would overshadow me. And the child that would be born to me would be called Holy- the Son of God.
Would I choose faith? Or fear?
Wow! This day had certainly taken a turn that I didn’t see coming. I was envisioning our wedding day and my life with Joseph. And then the angel appeared and revealed a different direction for my life. I had a choice to make in that moment. Would I choose faith? Or fear?
I knew that faith was believing without seeing. It was so much to take in, that I would be the one to carry the Messiah, the long-awaited One, the One who would redeem Israel – the One sent by God. And I could already sense the great love that I would have for this child, my first child, my own son, the very Son of God.
Even though this seemed impossible, somehow I knew deep within in me that every word he had spoken was true. I trusted and believed all that the angel was speaking over me. I knew that my God was the God of the impossible. He starts with impossible and shows the world that all things are possible with God. My God always keeps His promises even when His plans are different from mine. That day I chose faith and trust over fear and worry.
However, as any girl would, I began to think about what this might mean for my future, the future I longed for with Joseph. What would he think? What would he do? What would my parents think? What would the neighbors say?
How was I to move forward in confidence of this beautiful revelation that had been spoken over me? I had more questions than answers. But I had faith. I truly believed that God would be with me as the angel had said. I chose to trust God with my future, and I knew in my heart that God was the One writing the story of my life.
I really didn’t know what to do at this point
I really didn’t know what to do at this point. So, I packed a bag and left to visit my relatives Zechariah and Elizabeth.
I had heard the story of Zechariah in the temple. I heard that an angel of the Lord met him there revealing to him the Lord’s plan for their lives, even in their old age. I heard that Elizabeth was now pregnant as the angel had spoken over them. And in my heart I knew that I needed to go be with them.
When I arrived at their house and walked through the door, Elizabeth was completely overjoyed to see me. She was immediately filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out with a blessing over me. She said, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”
Elizabeth was completely overcome with immeasurable joy. She knew what was happening. The Holy Spirit had revealed it. The mother of the Lord Jesus had come into her home. And perhaps the most surprising of all was that the baby in her womb leapt for joy. This baby, John, knew the joy of the presence of the Lord even from the womb. This child would be the one to prepare the people for the Messiah to come.
My heart was so full at that moment that I felt like it could burst wide open. And the only thing I could do was to cry out in a song of praise to the Lord for His goodness to me and His blessing over me.
I wasn’t quite sure how Joseph would respond when he heard the news. Would he be angry and upset about the situation? I knew that he was a kindhearted and good man and felt certain that he would do the right thing.
Joseph decided to end our relationship quietly
Joseph decided to end our relationship quietly as to not bring any shame on me. As he was making plans to that end, he too was surprised as an angel appeared to him in a dream. The angel said, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.” The angel revealed to him that the baby in my womb was from the Holy Spirit and that I was going to have a Son and His name would be Jesus. This child would be the One who would save the people from their sins.
Joseph was a wise man with great faith. Joseph also had a choice to make. He too chose faith over fear.
He believed the angel and chose to trust God with his future. He chose trust over fear even when the plan was different than he thought it would be. He quickly took me to be his wife.
In nine short months I would give birth to a son and we would give him the name Jesus, Emmanuel – God with us.
My story continues as Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus decided to take a census of his land to count the people. Everyone was required to return to their hometown. Although I was great with child, we would be heading to Bethlehem, the city of David.
When we arrived in Bethlehem, the city was jam packed with people. I had never seen anything like it. The streets were so crowded you could barely pass through. We made it safely, but there was a problem. All of the inns were full, and we had no place to stay.
Finally, we met the nicest man who had a cave that he used to give shelter to his animals. He said we could stay there for the night. We gladly accepted, as this was truly our only option.
As I laid my head down on a pile of hay, exhausted yet joyful, I began to replay my story over again and again. I pondered every detail in my heart.
The prophet Micah had spoken about the Messiah
Then the thought came to me. The prophet Micah had spoken about the Messiah, that out of Bethlehem would come One who would be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times. I began to feel the pain and knew this baby was coming tonight.
It was amazing to realize that God had orchestrated every detail, and I was about to give birth to the Son of God, fulfilling prophecy as the angel revealed in the City of David. And that night, the very first Christmas, Christ was born. God sent the Messiah into the world to make a way for redemption for all people through His one and only Son. It was miraculous and it was the most beautiful night of my life.
For Mary and Joseph, life didn’t exactly turn out the way they had planned. There were certainly bumps in the road and big things they didn’t see coming. We have a lot to learn from them about choosing to trust God with the unknowns of our lives.
Life doesn’t always turn out the way we had imagined.
We will each face unknowns. Life doesn’t always turn out the way we had imagined. But we can go forward with confidence knowing that it is God who is writing the stories of our lives. God created each of us uniquely and He has a great plan for each of us. We can choose to trust His plan for our lives with confidence; not confident in ourselves, but confident in the One who is able and always faithful.
Will you choose faith over fear?
“Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:13-21)
A son, grieving the loss of his father, began the arduous task of cleaning out his father’s German home and art studio. His tiny home was crammed with the treasures of his craft – paints, brushes, canvases, and books. Willy Wiedmann developed a style of art called polycon, a unique flowing art form with straight lines and sharp angles using vibrant colors woven together to tell a story. His son always admired his father’s work and appreciated his contribution to the art world, but he was not prepared for the discovery of his father’s masterpiece in the attic – the entire Bible painted in his iconic polycon style. The pages for each book of the Bible were folded in an accordion fashion and then individually bound. His son, overwhelmed by the beauty of the Biblical artwork, shared the collection with the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. Understanding the rare treasure in their possession, the museum curators created a special exhibition to showcase the work.
Recently, our family traveled to the nation’s capital to visit the museum and had the opportunity to participate in the unfolding of this one-of-a-kind Bible. Each of the Bible books had been connected together and loaded on a specially designed cart. Hundreds of volunteers were arranged around the Lincoln reflecting pond at the National Mall as the organizers slowly pushed the cart, unfolding the illustrated Bible as it was distributed to the waiting volunteers. All stretched out, the Wiedmann Illustrated Bible is over a mile long.
All of the participants were trying to pinpoint the section of the Scripture they were holding. Because of the unique and somewhat abstract style, it was hard to say, especially without the ability to see the whole context of what was in our hands. Across the reflecting pond, we could see the mixture of colors the artist used, vibrant colors mixed with deep dark tones. We were grateful the museum had a team in place to answer our questions. It turns out that the vibrant rainbow of colors represented the garden and Psalms. The bright light colors expressed the work of the Holy Spirit, while the deep, dark tones indicated sin and pain. Collectively, it was absolutely striking! Not one section could be eliminated; each panel was necessary to tell the beautiful and complete story.
It took over an hour to unfold all of the pages of this unique work of art. However, when the last panel was given out, there were loud shouts of victory. We had remained to see the whole project completed. Wiedmann’s son was present at this historic event in Washington D.C. to see his father’s artwork shared. It was a magnificent story of a son revealing his father’s work.
But more than that, seeing the illustrated Bible fully unfolded gives us a glimpse of our heavenly Father’s view. It is the whole story of redemption – the light and happy events of life interwoven with the deeply painful moments, unfolded to reveal His complete story of redemption in our lives. Our stories remain incomplete until the Son reveals His masterpiece in our lives.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
Learn more about the Wiedman Bible at https://youtu.be/0kxXiqb5upU
Written by Pat Harley
The timing was all wrong for sure. There was something more exciting on the other side of the room and so I had lost my audience.
It was Christmas Morning and, as is our tradition, each one of my family including my husband and our then-young two young daughters, gathered early to give our gifts to Jesus. This always comes first before we dive into our own Christmas presents. Now this is not a complicated thing. Beloved had written a poem, Jenna had learned a violin piece and Cameron ( the youngest) had drawn and colored a picture of the nativity scene. I had written a story entitled Meshed and the Messiah. (more…)
Libby came into class beyond excited! Now she could see! She could see what her husband was talking about. She could see what her friends were talking about. She grew up attending church and heard all the Sunday school stories about Jesus, but she could not see what the consuming passion for Him was about. In fact, Libby was pretty annoyed with Joseph’s new found love for Jesus. Joe had been challenged to read through the gospel of John with a co-worker who practically dared him to stick with it until the end. Libby didn’t hear her husband talk much about his time reading the Bible, but she definitely noticed some changes in him. He was a bit more patient with their boys; he was a bit more helpful around the house, and he was a bit less sarcastic – and she was not complaining! However, Libby was dumbfounded when Joe returned home early from work one day and announced that he was born again. She just couldn’t see what he was talking about.
At Joe’s urging Libby reluctantly joined the women’s Bible study at a local church. They were teaching The Amazing Life of Jesus Christ so she thought she would start there. Now, 9 weeks after she reluctantly started the Bible study, she could see Jesus for who He is and the sacrifice He made on her behalf. She was no longer confused; her eyes had been opened so that she could see the truth of Jesus.
Jesus’ Disciples Couldn’t See
Following Jesus’ resurrection, His followers couldn’t see the truth about Him either. Cleopas and his friend had been in Jerusalem for Passover when the city was reeling with the news about Jesus’ crucifixion. These men were His disciples; they had known His teaching and they believed and desired Him to be the long-awaited Messiah. The problem was that they only saw what they wanted to see about Jesus. He said He was coming back after three days, yet instead of anticipating His arrival and waiting in Jerusalem, these two disciples were heading home to Emmaus. When Jesus joined them on the road, they didn’t recognize Him (Luke 24:13-16).
Jesus, always a teacher, questioned the travelers about their conversation, drawing out all that they knew about Him and the events that had taken place. They relayed the facts accurately, even the women’s report of Jesus’ body being missing. Yet, the two still could not see Jesus right in front of their eyes (Luke 24:17-24). When they had finished their account of the events surrounding the weekend, Jesus spoke to them.
“O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to enter into His glory?” ~Luke 24:25-26
Jesus Uses Scripture to Open Their Eyes
Then Jesus reviewed all the Scriptures written by Moses and the prophets – highlighting how they pointed forward to Him. What a Bible study! Even with the detailed exposition of the Scriptures, Cleopas and his friend still could not see Jesus. It was not until later in the evening when Jesus broke bread with them, that they were able to receive not only the bread, but their spiritual sight – they could see Jesus and couldn’t wait to share the news. Once the men moved beyond knowing only the facts about Jesus, to receiving Him, they were able to see.
Bible study teachers have the privilege of walking students through the Scriptures, pointing to Christ along the way. The Bible is more than a historical narrative of what has occurred; it contains the very words we need to know about Jesus. When we teach the Bible with the purpose of knowing the Lord better, every book, every chapter, and every word will point to Christ. As we see Christ portrayed, His heart is revealed over and over again – and the Holy Spirit will affect a person’s heart and open their eyes.
Bible Studies Are a Lens to See Jesus
Everyone attending Bible study needs to see Jesus in a fresh and comforting way. Students attend studies for different reasons. Some are committed to learning more about Christ. Others come to satisfy their need for companionship or curiosity. We have heard countless testimonies from people taking The Amazing Collection: The Bible, Book by Book or The Amazing Life of Jesus Christ that the truth of Scripture and Christ is revealed to them as never before.
Let us never to be so accustomed to Scripture that we only learn the facts, but rather approach each and every study with the prayer, “Open my eyes that I may see!”
Are Your Arms Open or Closed?
Josh was stunned. He imagined so many scenarios of how the reunion would go, but never did he imagine the response he got. He had been a young boy when his mother remarried and moved away from his paternal grandparents. The college years were busy with studies, working, and friends, and time slipped away from him. Now, as a young 20 something, he was making his first visit to their home. A surprise visit, he had not spoken to them in years. Nothing hurtful or wrong, just overly involved in his new life.
He waited at the curb by their house until he saw his grandfather arrive home from work. Josh got out of the car and slowly walked to the door, with every step feeling heavier with the weight of the distance in their relationship. After ringing the doorbell, the black wooden door opened slowly and there stood his grandfather, silently staring at him. Josh’s heart pounded hard as he uttered the words, “Hi, Grandpa.” Then, without saying a word, his grandfather slowly closed the door. Josh, confused, stood at the closed door for an unusually long time before returning to his car. He never imagined the stony silent reception. If his grandfather was not going to welcome him back into his life, he would have preferred a heated argument, a good fight to at least feel justified in the strained relationship. But now what? Was restoring the relationship worth the hurt?
How we respond to others when they hurt us is a big deal to Jesus!
The morning after Jesus’ triumphant entry into the city on the back of a colt, He was traveling from Bethany to Jerusalem and teaching the disciples about the power of faith and prayer. He shared that whatever they asked of the Father and believed would happen, it would be granted. But then Jesus added this very crucial key for prayer, “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” (Mark 11:25).
Our prayers must not be offered from an unforgiving heart.
It is easy to see the harsh and unforgiving reaction of Josh’s grandfather, but harder to see our own heart as unforgiving. Yet what is our response when our neighbor lets their dog roam through our freshly planted flowers or when someone swiftly pulls into the parking space we have been patiently waiting for? How do you respond when you run into the woman you once called a friend until she shared your very sensitive and very private situation with others?
Jesus knows that forgiveness does not come naturally for us.
So much of Jesus’ teaching was about forgiveness. He taught that we are all sinners who have been forgiven and that when we recognize that hard truth, forgiving others should be our overflow response (Matthew 6:14-15). He elaborated that we should be prepared to forgive others often and repeatedly (Matthew 18:21-22). And, he knew we would be quick to point out others’ faults when he taught, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone.” (John 8:7).
Jesus modeled the way of forgiveness.
At the crucifixion Jesus’ arms were nailed wide open on the cross in the ultimate act of forgiveness. He laid down His life in order for sinners to be reconciled to the Father. Every sin, every time, has been forgiven for those who have faith in Jesus’ work on the cross (Ephesians 2:8).
This Easter let’s celebrate His Resurrection by opening our hearts and our arms to embrace those who we need to forgive – open the door to restoring the relationships that need restoring.
Written by Traci Martin.
For information about The Amazing Collection: The Bible, Book by Book visit our preview page at https://www.bigdreamministries.org/preview-materials/the-amazing-collection/
I love YouTube! There is so much information available; you could practically earn a PhD. I have learned how to study more effectively, how to fix my office chair, and how to rehab my sore knee. The range of topics is endless. And the sources! There are all manners of social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like. Search engines seem to know the perfect answer to the questions I ask, from where to find the best Mexican restaurant in my area to understanding complex medical conditions. It is amazing how the suggested posts or videos appear to be on point with topics I am interested in. I thoroughly enjoy the advantages of the World Wide Web.
But it is a bit, ok, a lot creepy, as well. My daughter and I were having a conversation about her recent interest in a potential career as a flight attendant. About an hour later she picked up her phone to scroll through social media and there was an ad to train to be a Delta flight attendant. The timing was more than coincidental. After a bit of research, we discovered how new phones can “listen” to your conversations and target advertising specific to what they hear. We changed our privacy settings to prevent that from happening again.
Not only do we have to be careful of our devices listening to us, we have to be careful of who we listen to.
As I was listening to a really good episode of a Christian ministry discussing the keys to healthy marriages, YouTube suggested another video on marriage from an unfamiliar counselor. The title was intriguing, so I listened. The first 2/3 was good teaching. However, the last 1/3 took a drastic turn into not only unconventional, but unbiblical, teaching. I don’t know if the computer linked the topics to suggest the video or if the counselor targeted Christian marriage ministries, but either way it was not good counseling and was even downright harmful.
To Google a question such as “Where in the Bible can I find the story of David and Bathsheba?” will give a very objective answer to point you in the right direction to find what you are looking for. But to Google a question that needs more of an interpretive answer could be tricky. There are millions of voices that feed the answers on the Internet and you have to be careful who you invite into the conversation of research. Without a solid understanding of Scripture, the multitude of “opinions” on the Internet could muddle any topic.
As we try to gain deeper understanding of Scripture, how do we know what is accurate? How do we discern what information is truthful and helpful to our understanding? How can we gain biblical wisdom?
1 Thessalonians 5:21 instructs, “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.”
We are going to grow in understanding and wisdom by taking steps to properly examine what we hear.
Growing in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word keeps us from being deceived and grows us in His grace. While there is no shortage of information available, the more we focus on learning Scripture, the more we can discern what is truthful and helpful. Listening to the right voices is the key to applying truth to our lives – that is wisdom.
Written by Traci Martin