I am doing a long distance book study with a friend. We wanted to do something meaningful this summer, and I discovered that our former pastor was doing a series of sermons on the book of Revelation. I had Anne Graham Lotz’s book, Vision of His Glory so we thought her book along with the sermon series would be a great way to spend our summer!!
A little about the book:
Written in 1996, Anne Graham Lotz explains the book of Revelation. Her anecdotes and examples help relate these scriptures to real life. I bought my copy in 1996, but never finished it. Luckily, I still had it on the shelf!!
The sermons: Jeff Williams is the pastor at First Baptist Church in Denton, Texas. He was the pastor at my church in Texas when R and I were raising our kids. Being friends with his family was one of the greatest blessings of our lives. His wife and I remain extremely good friends today!! He is an excellent speaker and teacher. This series of sermons can be found at FBC Denton.
It was during our first discussion this week of chapters 1 & 2 of the book, and Jeff’s first two sermons that I had a great moment of clarity!!
I have a really hard time with people!! I’m just being honest here!! Things people do just really bug me sometimes! Lately, people have really been getting on my nerves!! I’ve talked to some friends about it, my mom, my sister… and I always say “There aren’t any stories in the bible that deal with this situation. How am I as a Christian supposed to handle this?”
Bring on the epiphany!!!
My friend, Pam, and I were discussing Revelation 1:15 (2nd half)
“…and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.”
Both Lotz and Williams referred to times that they had been around truly rushing waters and how loud that sound is. Lotz describes it this way:
“The sound of rushing water conveys not only energy, power, and life; if you stand close enough to it, it drowns out all other sounds. Have you ever stood at the base of a waterfall? The sound is so great it fills the air, and you cannot even hear yourself speak.” pp. 36-37
I wrote in my book, “Am I standing close enough to God’s voice for all other noises to be drowned out?”
We also discussed the 2nd half of verse 16, “…and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword.”
We started discussing these thoughts and verses, and it came to me. I need to be so close to God’s word- Jesus’s voice- that His voice is all I hear above all else. Above the chatter of the news, above the gossip, above the lies that people tell, above the obnoxious things that come out of others’ mouths- God’s word/ Jesus’ voice needs to be the loudest voice in my life.
That’s it- the “secret sauce” to life really isn’t so secret!!! I need to be filling my life with God’s word- not just a smattering here and there but filling my life to the brim with God’s word.
Now, of course, I knew that!!!! But I have really, really been struggling in this particular area of my life recently. People lately have been getting on my nerves!!! People that I know personally as well as people in the public have done things lately that let me down- have disappointed me, and it hurts!!!
Pam and I also came to the great aha moment that if we would be truly filling our lives with God’s word daily instead of just when we are worried or upset, we probably wouldn’t be worried or upset to start with.
I have devotionals that I do, but I know I need more. One of my new year goals was to have a “spiritual practice.” This spiritual practice was going to be to read my “read the bible in a year” bible every day and write down my thoughts. Well, I am a failure at this!!! But I am picking myself up and starting over once again!!
The beauty of studying the bible is that there is ALWAYS something new to learn! It depends on our stage in life, life circumstances, and our openness to it, but there is always something new that I can apply to my life!!
I want my life to be such that when a friend isn’t honest with me, I hear God’s word saying, “Turn the other cheek” instead of dwelling on why she/he can’t be honest. (Matthew 5:39)
When I feel that someone has been insensitive about my grief over losing R, I can remember that Jesus cried over Lazarus’ death, and he knows that I’ll never “be over” the loss of my husband. He understands. (John 11:35)
My life’s goal from now on is for God’s word- Jesus’ voice to be the loudest voice I hear.