I attended a Lifeway women's conference, Going Beyond this weekend. Priscilla Shirer was the speaker and the morning session was so wonderful I thought I'd share it with you. It's centered around the idea that it may be easy to hear from God when it is at a conference like this one, or on Sundays from the pastor, but that cannot be enough for us who are called to be daily Christ-followers.
So here is my slightly-edited format (I combined 2 steps) on how to gain insights into scripture in a simple way. I'm going to go through them with a scripture I randomly felt led to on BibleGateway.com and encourage you to try this, too. What's so great about this "formula" is it gets us in a place to hear from God and builds our relationship with Him so we don't have to depend on someone else's take on the Holy Bible, we can go into the Holy of Holies and hear God's voice directly.
Step 1. Position yourself to hear from God. Find a quiet place that you will be able to sit with Jesus and hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. Bring your Bible and a notebook (or do it on the computer for ease of saving it where you can find it again).
Step 2. Pour over a short passage of scripture. Only use two or three verses. Here is my example from Psalm 111:
Vs. 2- Great are the works of the Lord;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
Vs. 3- Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.
Vs. 4- He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
Step 3. Paraphrase the scriptures, verse by verse, keep it simple using the actual words from the Bible.
Vs. 2- The Lord's great works are pondered by all who enjoy them.
Vs. 3- The Lord does glorious/majestic things and his righteousness will go on forever.
Vs. 4- The Lord will remind us of his wonders, He is gracious (or merciful) and full of compassion.
4. Pull out the spiritual principals and pose the questions. At this point, close your Bible and consider the words of God you wrote. Ask God for guidance on hearing what he wants you to hear. What questions come to mind for each of the verses?
Vs. 2- Do I consider the works of God, his miracles for me? And if I don't, how am I supposed to enjoy them? What can I do to better notice his works and, therefore, enjoy them?
Vs. 3- What has the Lord done for me? Do I realize in my heart of hearts that his righteousness will go on forever, even after everything I know is gone?
Vs. 4- Lord, remind me of your wonders. I get too busy to pay attention. But I see that you are merciful toward my failings and full of compassion toward me. Do I show others that same mercy and compassion?
Step 4. Plan obedience and pin down the date. This is where after pouring over it, pondering it, and pulling out the questions God has for me in the scripture, I am convicted of my short comings or simply reminded of the presence of God in my life.
Conviction is good. It's not condemnation, but rather a gentle scrubbing of the Holy Spirit on my insides to make me holy. If my conviction is (from doing this exercise) that I've not been recognizing the greatness of God on a daily basis, I set a time daily to "get my praise on." I'm thinking first thing every morning is a good time to be reminded of the wonders of God. The other revelation I got is that just as God's compassions are new every morning, I also should extend that mercy and compassion new every morning, not hold past faults or unforgiveness over my friend's or family's heads.
I'd love to hear how this plan works for you! Keep me posted. And check out the other great resources from Lifeway, a great resource for small groups, large churches or individuals.