Musings: August 2018

One true gift of God is the tension of struggle:

challenges that come out of nowhere just when you think the coast is clear;
the demon Comparison that threatens to anchor you always in the Desert of Lack;
besetting sins that cycle and re-cycle in a life that resembles an on-going game of Whack-a-Mole.

Up close, the struggle feels overwhelming, but taking one step back so the light of Truth can fall upon the day’s page, it becomes clear that struggle is evidence of life. Paul knew this in his bones, following up his Romans 7 howl (“For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”) with a Romans 8 rallying cry (“If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”).

The struggle is not for nothing.
Watching my grandson’s fervent pursuit of the ducks on Damariscotta Lake is a study in futility, for he is still learning that his feathered friends have the secret weapon of flight –which is not available to him. By contrast, the believer’s pursuit of righteousness is supported by every weapon in the Spirit’s arsenal.

Your struggle is exactly fitted to your soul,
your soul to it exactly fitted.

The mark of a sincere following life is struggle, but we do not struggle alone, and we do not struggle in vain.

The World of Words

Five books read and five books reviewed!

 

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Of course there’s always reading going on behind the scenes, and the number of books that have shown up in my mailbox this month tells me that this must be book launch season! I’ve been sharing my meandering through Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian in Community over on the Living Our Days Facebook page (which, by the way, passed the 500 followers mark this month, so thank you to everyone who gathers there!).Bonhoeffer Listening

Now I’m moving on to C.S. Lewis’s The Weight of Glory, and the edition I’m reading includes an introduction by Walter Hooper, Lewis’s assistant during his final days. He shares biographical insights I have not read elsewhere, and then, of course, Lewis’s incredible essays follow.

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Desiring God very graciously shared an article that I wrote from the gleanings of one of our more challenging seasons of parenting. Based on John 17, it’s a call to prayer for our teens, and a reminder that when parents pray over an open Bible, the words of Scripture wrap themselves around the desires of our hearts and give us the words we don’t have. While you’re there, be sure to take advantage of their many helpful resources.

The Gardening Life

My basement shelves are filling up with shiny jars of spaghetti sauce, pickles, relish, green beans, salsa, and canned tomatoes. Much to the delight of our adorable grandson, we’re growing a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes this year, and in addition to squirreling away the bounty, it’s been a delight to have plenty to share with family and friends.

Around the Dining Room Table

The youngest son and I have already resumed the daily routine of homeschooling. This will be my last round of algebra and chemistry, and since he’s taking his English at the local community college, someone else will be singing the praises of the Oxford comma with him this year. God has used the rhythms and routines of homeschooling to speak patience into this flibbertigibbet of a soul with the reality that school happens one day, one subject at a time, and the thick textbook that looks so intimidating in September is conquered by showing up and doing the few things required on any given day.

Standing with you in the freedom of the struggle,

I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase any of the books mentioned in this recap post, simply click on the image below, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Ways to Reflect God’s Character

He placed one hand on the door frame, shifted his weight to one foot, and then placed the other small boot toe-down on the floor. Looking at his dad, he checked his hand position and then assumed the facial expression he deemed appropriate to the occasion, a conversation among “the guys.” My grandson’s imitation of his dad is endearing, but it is also instructional. If you want to be like someone, even if that Someone is God, you study their actions and do your best to imitate and replicate them. If you want to be like God, and if God has revealed Himself through inspired writing as One who values and embodies particular qualities, then you have your marching orders.

In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character is Jen Wilkin’s affirmation that God’s character, revealed in Scripture, is the believer’s template:

“How should the knowledge that God is _________________ change the way I live?”  (21)

Who Should I Be?

A laser focus on the character and attributes of God impacts on my own character, but it also shifts my perception for decision making. When I am seeking the will of God, I have tended to ask, “What should I do?” when the better question is “Who should I be?”  Wilkin expresses the tension well and from personal experience:

“Perhaps you’ve known the frustration of hearing silence, or worse, of acting on a hunch or ‘leading’ only to find later that you apparently had not heard the Lord’s will. I know that process better than I’d like to admit, and I also know the shame that accompanies it–the sense that I’m tone-deaf to the Holy Spirit, that I’m terrible at discovering God’s will. . . .His will does not need discovering. It is in plain sight. To see it we need to start asking the question that deals with his primary concern. We need to ask, ‘Who should I be?'”

Here’s what it boils down to:

“What does it profit me to make the right choice if I’m still the wrong person? A lost person can make ‘good choices.’ But only a person indwelt by the Holy Spirit can make a good choice for the purpose of glorifying God.”

So while there is no list of words, no magical set of adjectives that can fully encompass the character and nature of God, Jen Wilkin has chosen ten attributes that assist the reader in modeling a life after the character of God.

For example, God’s holiness is his most frequently cited attribute in Scripture. What does His utter purity of character mean for the believer who claims a desire to be like Jesus? Practical holiness, according to Jerry Bridges, includes a “desire to be made holy.” This leads me to ask myself a number of razor-edged questions:

  • Am I praying about the sanctification of my kids–and myself?
  • Are my motives for right behavior results-oriented or am I seeking holiness for its own glorious sake?

Asking the Better Question

In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character has heightened my awareness of God’s attributes as a doorway to worship, and the journey actually began for me when I read Wilkin’s earlier release None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That’s a Good Thing). (Click here to read my review!) In our efforts to understand the nature of God and to reflect His character, it is true that we are invited by the God who is holy, loving, good, just, merciful, gracious, faithful, patient, truthful, and wise to enter into the embodiment of these virtues as part of our sanctification process. These attributes of God are communicable, and this is a list that the believer can grow into by walking in obedience to the commands of God through the power of the Spirit of God within.

However, God is also infinite, incomprehensible, self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and sovereign. These are His incommunicable attributes, which, by their very nature can be true only of God. When we “strive to become like God in any of these traits, we set ourselves up as his rival. Human beings created to bear the image of God aspire instead to become like God.”

It is always a joy to return to the truth of the Gospel which is not self-help or advice for “better living,” but rather Good News. So, what is the Good News? It is simply this: The believer’s flawed and imperfect representation of the image of God can, by grace, be transformed. As we seek, by grace, to be “conformed to the image of Christ,” we begin by asking, “who should I be?” and then enter into the life long process of discovering who God is as we look to Him for the answers our hearts desire.  


Many thanks to Crossway for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character, or None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That’s a Good Thing) simply click on the title (or the image) within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Thank you, as always, for reading and for your continual encouragement,

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February Musings — 2017

What February lacks in length, it has more than offset with depth — of SNOW and MUD! No sooner do we shovel our way through two feet of fluffy beauty, than the sun comes out and melts it all, turning the world into chocolate pudding!  It’s almost as if God is telling us to slow down — to stay home and enjoy these days of crazy boys and middle-aged marriage.  And so we have — with joy!

On My Desk

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It’s been great to get the women’s Sunday School class started up again at my wonderful church home.  We have been using Jen Wilkin’s study in I Peter, and it’s really keeping us on our toes with homework and a persistent (and important) reminder that we need to stay close to the text, reading repetitively and in context.  What that boils down to is at least one trip through all five chapters of I Peter each week, lots of marking up the text in our search for repetitive words and big picture concepts, and regular use of the dictionary (or Siri) for deeper understanding of the words Peter chose for his letter to all of us “elect exiles.”  I reviewed Jen’s book last spring and couldn’t wait to use it in real life with my friends who join me around the table each week.  The study is every bit as challenging and helpful as I thought it would be.

Vacation Bible School veterans will not be surprised to hear that I’m sorting through curricula and staffing for this summer’s ministry to kids, and so I’m wondering . . . what’s everyone else doing for summer ministry in 2017?

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Somehow I missed taking Economics in high school and college, so, in this third round of teaching a high school senior here at home, I’m switching gears, leaving our curriculum behind, and reading a book in tandem with my big, brown-eyed boy.  Emily Whitten has been sharing one classic book per month on World Radio, and her suggestion of Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics has been just what I needed to bring the theory and the charts and graphs and specialized vocabulary into real world application for my future welder (and for this present day domestic diva!).  You can listen along here.

 

On the Blog

One of the lovely benefits of blogging has been all the new friendships I’ve made with other bloggers — and every once in a while, one of those friends writes a book, and I get to review it here at Living Our Days.  When my friend Mary Geisen wrote Brave Faith, she dipped her brush into the lives of inspiring biblical characters and shared their stories alongside her own journey of moving outside her comfort zone and into the soul-enriching pilgrimage toward living brave.

Another blogging friend, Holly Barrett, invited me to join her on her weekly podcast, and the program aired on February 3.  Click here to listen in to the fun conversation as we chatted about family, books, and living this following life in pursuit of wisdom.  You can subscribe to her podcast here.

The dialogue at SheLoves Magazine is always lively and uplifting, and I was thankful to share a reflection on my mid-winter canning jars and the truth that the container is secondary to the contents.  It’s good new that my emptiness is an invitation for God to pour His fullness into me—whatever my assignment for 2017.  You can read more here, and be reminded of the Apostle Paul’s testimony that God met him faithfully in the midst of his own deep need.

The most-read post at Living Our Days for the month of February was my review of Humble Roots, by Hannah Anderson.  Using metaphors as earthy as our clay-based bodies, Hannah cooperates with the Word of God to reveal that the quality of life we most desire will not come to us through power or reason or productivity or any number of quick fixes, but, rather, through roots that are sunk deeply into a theology of need and answering grace — and a humble acceptance of a life that is lived close to the ground.

And, unbelievably, for those of us who are reading C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces, we have only two more weeks left in our discussion group!  The book was already my favorite of Lewis’s fiction, and now I’m blessed by the great insights that have come from other readers through this group experience.  As we begin Part II, Orual realizes, “I must unroll my book again.”  We’ll be joining her in the process of sorting out the threads of her tangled memory.

Just for Joy

We did it!
The women’s fellowship at my church planned and executed a Family Valentine’s Celebration including a lovely dinner and a fun and wacky program.  We started brainstorming waaaaay back in November, and it’s encouraging to see what a small group of women can accomplish together as we celebrate our ministry to women and work toward greater opportunities and initiative for ministry by women.

captureThanks for meeting with me once again here at month’s end.  I am blessed by your generosity of spirit as you read, share your comments, and invite others from your circles into our conversation.

The beautiful and poetic words about snow in the image above come from Luci Shaw’s “Light Gathering, January” taken from her collection of poems What the Light Was Like.

Be sure to join me over at Leigh Kramer’s place where many of us gather at month’s end to share What We’re Into.

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

Toward a Theology of Reverence and Awe

It is staggering to think that the life of faith is really an invitation to share in the nature of God.  He is holy, and he calls the believer to a life of holiness, providing the means and the might to make it happen.  He is loving, and He pours His love through us in surprising ways.  He is just, merciful, gracious, and wise — and the list could grow very long, but — miraculously — it is a list that the believer can grow into by walking in obedience to the commands of God through the power of the Spirit of God within.

In None Like Him, Jen Wilkin ponders another list of God’s attributes:  the ones in which humans are not invited to share, and which, by their very nature, can be true only of God.  She examines ten of these traits, helping her readers to appreciate the uniqueness of God while at the same time disclosing the startling truth that, like our ancestor Eve, we are still in the family business of aspiring to become like God.  The challenge for us, then, is to aspire to be more like our Heavenly Father without seeking to usurp His position!

Only God is infinite.

He cannot be measured, and He has no  limits or boundaries.  Job 11:7-9 finds even the vast heavens and the broad seas are not not up to the job of demonstrating the infinitude of God’s greatness.

A right response to an immeasurable God is celebration of our own God-ordained limits.  They teach us the fear of the Lord and remind us that we are not meant to be “like God in His unlimited divinity; we are to be like God in our limited humanity.  Image bearing means becoming fully human, not becoming divine.”

Only God is incomprehensible.

A life time of searching the Scriptures will not uncover all that there is to know about God — and yet He is able to be “sufficiently known.”  By contrast, we humans are knowable and known by a Creator whose expertise (expressed in Psalm 139:1-6) surpasses even our own self-knowledge.

Believing that only God is an expert on human nature relieves me of the “responsibility” for judging my neighbor’s faults, allowing me to bring my own faults to the God who understands my nature and invites me into a life-long exploration of His limitless perfection.

Only God is self-sufficient.

Acts 17:24-25 makes the critical connection between God’s creative power and His absolute independence from His creation.  This is a cause for rejoicing, for since God has no needs, He cannot be tempted by anything.  On the other hand, our needs are many and urgent.  Although we have been bent and broken by the fall, this state of dependence is not an outcome of our fallenness.  Adam and Eve were created to need God and his provision.  Ironically, it is when we view need as a flaw and suppress our humanity (again, striving to be God), we go without necessary rest, “starve ourselves to a size 2,” and practice saying “I’m fine” in front of the mirror until we believe it ourselves.

Divine self-sufficiency is a given.  Human attempts to masquerade as self-sufficient lead to prayerlessness, forgetfulness of God’s provision, anger at our limitations, side stepping the conviction of the Holy Spirit when we sin, and refusing help from brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.

Only God is eternal.

Time binds us like cords.  It chafes against our do-list and keeps us in continual catch-up mode.  Even our preferences and manner of life are time bound to the era that we call home.  God, on the other hand, transcends time — even book-ending it!  Like Gandalf, he is “never late, nor is He early.”  His actions occur precisely when he intends for them to.

Even so, we arrogate to ourselves the grasping irony of putting God on a deadline rather than honoring this attribute by trusting Him.  We demonstrate this trust by letting go of the past, leaving the future with Him, and living fully in the moment.  Viewing time as a gift from the God who owns time results in days that are lived well with a priority on relationships over possessions and with a prayer on our lips that God would “establish the work of our hands.”

Only God is immutable.

When the Psalms refer to God as our rock over twenty times, the biblically fluent will take comfort in this imagery of changelessness.  There is much to ponder here, even in regard to His attributes, for nothing we do can add to or diminish His glory.  God will never be more holy or less faithful than He has ever been.  This is good news, for He has set His love upon us, and this, too, is unchangeable.

As creatures, however, we are subject to continuous change, and my own particular discomfort with this established truth reveals in me a serial idolatry, fixed upon whatever condition or person that is in flux:  “I need YOU to be God for me, so please just stay the same.”

Our species’ tendency to usurp God’s place is, I believe, most prevalent in this sentence about change:  “That’s just who I am.  I can’t change.”  Jen Wilkin summarizes the situation:

“Just as my assurance of salvation rests in the fact that God cannot change, my hope of sanctification rests in the fact that I can.”

Only God is omnipresent.

It stretches the mind to conceive of God’s uncontainable nature.  He’s “not engaged in some cosmic game of Twister, trying to stretch Himself between an infinite number of locations,” and yet He is fully present in all places past, present, and future.  Although He fills all of creation and is near to us in every sense, he is distinct from His creation.

As one of His creation, I hunger for this combination of immanence and transcendence — and technology can even give me the illusion of it. Jen calls it “makeshift omnipresence” — this addiction we have to multitasking and efficiency that would keep me from ever having a face-to-face conversation with my boys or entering fully into any one task or event.

Only God is omniscient.

It follows that since God is everywhere, He is able to know everything.  He did not learn what He knows — and unlike me, He will not forget it. It would be a long pondering to even begin to appreciate the implications of God’s all-knowing, but, once again, technology is helping me to chase after this off-limits-to-humans attribute with an “all-you-can-eat buffet” of data, trivia, inspiration, and drivel.  Research shows that we suffer from information overload, but this unhealthy desire for unlimited knowledge goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden, and Solomon saw the tie between endless consumption and weariness.

Honoring the omniscience of God fleshes itself out in an acceptance of His perfect way (Ps. 18:30); a refusal to bargain with Him or to try to fool Him.  When I view the myth of human omniscience through the lens of Truth, I can conclude that “because God holds all knowledge, I don’t have to.”

Only God is omnipotent.

Job’s ultimate acceptance of the will of God was based upon his acknowledgement of God’s power.  Creating and sustaining all things, His power is infinite.  Humanity attempts to wield our own versions of power based upon physical strength, beauty, charisma, or wealth only to find that we are in the power of these forces.  In the end, it is God’s power at work in us that will bring about the transformation and security that we seek.

Only God is sovereign.

While the previous attributes focused on God’s ability to act, His sovereignty asserts that God is unlimited in His authority to act.  The only sensible conclusion that we can draw from our consideration of God’s nature is that “the most right and logical place for God to inhabit is a throne.” It goes without saying that the essence of our sin nature is to question and to attempt to usurp the sovereignty of God.  We doubt His motives; we crave control.

Ironically, the myth of human sovereignty leads some to the pursuit of an impossibly perfect and ageless body, an obsessive accumulation and maintenance of possessions, controlling relationships and a spirit of legalism.  It is far better to honor God by accepting His delegated authority in areas which are mine to control:  my thoughts, my attitude, my words, and my actions.

The tremendous amount of theology that permeates None Like Him is certain to inoculate the reader’s heart against the disease of awe-lessness.  Each chapter begins with a creative hook that anchors the truth into a concrete foundation:  the unchanging reference point of mountains on the horizon leads the mind into thoughts about God’s immutability; the pink-fuzzy Energizer bunny demonstrates our quest for the perpetual energy source; fear of tornadoes reveals our uneasy relationship with the raw and unpredictable power of nature.

I am planning to use this book as a guide in teaching the kids in my weekly Sunday School opening exercises one lesson per week on the attributes of God, because I believe the material is that accessible.  (And, like Madeleine L’Engle, I believe that if information is “too difficult for grown ups,” then you teach it to children.)

Also, committing this list of ten attributes to memory is a faith-building and awe-generating exercise that will enhance God-focused prayer.  Considering these truths in light of the incarnation brings into focus the stunning sacrifice of God the Son who was suddenly subject to the full range of human needs and limitations.  Embracing those limitations and acknowledging their ultimate opposite in the God-head cannot help but lead to a new appreciation and joy, fear and awe of the God we worship.

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This book was provided by Crossway in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews from Living Our Days delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of this page.

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Just One Thing: Story Arc

I have a tendency to get stuck in time.  It was true when I was single; it has been true of my days as a parent; it is true when my back flares up or when I am sick.  I believe — falsely — that whatever is going on at the moment is insurmountable and eternal.  The sleepless haze of new motherhood, the sleepless haze of eleven o’clock teen curfews, whatever the obstacle, my default reaction seems to be obtuse tunnel vision.

This was not the case with Nehemiah.   When he learned that the walls around Jerusalem were, once again, demolished, he reacted emotionally (“I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days . . ” 1:4), but then he began decisive action.  He was able to act effectively because he understood his present situation (and that of Jerusalem) in light of the bigger story arc which encompasses all the lesser stories of the Bible:  God redeeming his people and restoring His world.  In her excellent book Women of the Word, Jen Wilkin refers to this as the metanarrative: “the comprehensive explanation or guiding theme that illumines all other themes in a text.  A metanarrative is essentially a story about stories, encompassing and explaining the ‘little stories’ it overarches.”

How much of God’s  metanarrative of creation-fall-redemption-restoration did Nehemiah comprehend as he fasted and prayed for guidance in Shushan?  Enough to turn God’s promises to the Israelites into a trajectory of prayer that lasted around 16 weeks (from the Hebrew calendar’s month of Chislev to the month of Nisan).  Enough to interpret his present problem in light of the bigger problem.  Although Nehemiah was a Jew, he was, in all probability, born in Persia and had lived his days in the shadow of King Artaxerxe’s citadel.  His display of grief over the destruction of Jerusalem would not have been because he had fond boyhood memories of Israel’s kingdom days, but, instead, because he had tender heart toward God’s agenda.  The promise of God to restore the nation of Israel (Jeremiah 25:11,2; 29:10-14) was being thwarted once again.  The building project had been halted because of the political ax-grinding of evil men.

Hearing of this crisis in Jerusalem, Nehemiah chose to risk his safe position as the king’s trusted servant (1:11)and to leave the comfort of the palace in Shushan for a thousand mile journey and a new life in a war-zone.  Like Joseph and Esther before him, he recognized that he was in his present position for “such a time as this.”  Because he had interpreted events in light of the main theme, he would have realized that the walls around Jerusalem were necessary in order for there to be a distinct people of God.  It is doubtful that he would have known that God had an individual in mind, an individual who would be raised as a Jew so that he could become the ultimate Priest and King over Israel.  The restoration of Jerusalem as a political entity was just part of the great story arc (metanarrative) which would climax with the coming of Messiah.

With this in mind, I am challenged to interpret my own circumstances in light of a bigger picture.  What presents itself to me minute by minute is rarely my deepest, truest need.  Recognizing that God has complete freedom to do his big-picture plan, we can join Nehemiah in his God-centered prayer.

“Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, lease let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night . . .”

And so, the real story begins.

(For further study, refer to Kelly Minter’s Nehemiah study guide, Kathy Keller’s address to the Gospel Coalition conference 2014 . . . or join us at Spruce Head Community Church for my Sunday School class on the book of Nehemiah!)

Essential for Teachers and for Learners

Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin:  A Book Review

I can’t recall the last time I devoured a book in one evening, but that’s what happened with Women of the Word.  I’m sure the reason is Jen Wilkin’s laser focus on the topics that (after my family) are most important to me — knowing the Bible and teaching the Bible.  I found the book to be immediately relevant and useful, not only in my teaching ministry, but also in my personal study.

Be advised that Jen Wilkin is not putting forth something that is earth-shatteringly new.  If she were, you shouldn’t read the book, because, truly, the only way to know, understand, and apply the Bible is to, well . . . read it.  This is what makes Women of the Word intensely practical:  Jen Wilkin acknowledges that studying the Bible takes time, that it is possible the reader will not understand it immediately, and that it requires significant effort.  She also makes an airtight case for the fact that reading and studying the Bible is worth all the effort one expends!

Most people come to the Bible with two wrong assumptions:  (1)It’s all about me; (2)I want God to speak to my heart.  Women of the Word argues for a one hundred eighty degree change of focus:  (1)Let the Bible speak of God; (2)Let the mind transform the heart.

After a thorough argument for Biblical literacy, Jen Wilkin sets forth a very helpful guideline for achieving that very thing.

1.  Study with Purpose — View all of Scripture in light of the big-picture redemptive story arc that transcends all the “small stories.”

2.  Study with Perspective — Understand the author, his context, his audience, his purpose, and his style/genre.

3.  Study with Patience — Allow yourself to sit in the uncomfortable seat of “I don’t know,”  before consulting commentaries.

4.  Study with Process — Ask yourself three questions:  What does it say?  What does it mean?  What is God saying to me about change?

5.  Study with Prayer — Always.  Pray about purpose; pray about perspective; pray for patience; make prayer part of the process.  Always.

The author proceeds to demonstrate this approach with a study of James 1, and then concludes with an entire chapter of helpful guidelines for teachers.  I found this to be the most valuable section of the book (and the reason I stayed up past my bedtime!), because it felt like sitting down with someone who loves to teach and hearing her heart.

I am very excited about applying the concepts of this book, and, specifically, have been challenged to hold off on the commentaries, make better use of cross references, and to start providing printed pages of the text to my class so we can mark them up together.  Goal for the near future:  writing weekly homework questions to guide my students’ reading assignment.

Women of the Word will continue to serve as a reference for me, and I recommend it to teachers and learners who want to sharpen their ability to hear God speak to them from His Word.

Disclosure:  I received this book from Crossway in exchange for an honest review.