bible studies

All posts tagged bible studies

Camp Dream 28th Feb

Published February 28, 2016 by Laura Crean Author

BALI

I know it seems I’m only posting dreams at the moment but I have always had such vivid dreams and they have always  been an important part of my subconscious and spiritual life.  Therefore in the absence of time and inspiration for creative writing, sharing my dreams and my spiritual life seems to be the obvious thing to do.

Last night or rather this morning I had a dream that started out like any other dream but ended with a spiritual dimension which made me wonder about the meaning of the whole dream.

I was going on a trip and at first I didn’t know where I was going and actually there was some strange goings on at the beginning with the transport but I can’t remember that part of the dream.

Then eventually after some travelling and some kind of adventure on the way that I can’t remember, I arrived at a camp site.  It was a family camp site and I had children with me – I think they were my children but I’m not entirely sure.  I know there was some trouble putting up the tent, there was some rain which also made it difficult but I think we had a camper van as well to use as a main area.  Also during the setting up period there were 2 tigers roaming the camp site and we had to stay in the camper van at that point.

Then I remember the children waking up really early, actually in the middle of the night – about 1am and they invaded the swimming pool. All the children took over the pool and turned on all these sprays of hot water.  And the water in the pool went weird, like jelly.  But the children were all having a great time together in this pool.

Then the parents tried to get the children out of the pool but they had no control over them so they set up a large tent outside the pool that the children had to go through to get out and then they all sat around in there and organised bible studies while the children were in the pool.  The adults were having a great old time, sitting around drinking tea and chatting and really enjoying studying the bible together.

The parents also took down all their own tents and set up one large tent outside so that when the children went to go back to their own tents they only had this one large tent to go to.

The bible studies the parents were having were all based on books from the bible that don’t exist.  There were quite a few that I don’t remember but the ones I do remember seeing in the contents page and while people were flicking through their bibles were called ‘America’ ‘Judgement and Retribution’ and ‘Titius’.  I remember saying to the people in the meeting that those weren’t real books from the bible.  And a lady said they were and they were all in the back after Revelation.  I said I had never heard of them but I flicked through my bible and there they were.  then just before I woke up I heard one more book being spoken and it was Habakkuk, the only real book out of them.  As I stepped out of the bible studies tent there was an earthquake which I remember thinking was very strange because we don’t get them in the UK.

After I woke up the first thing I did was write down the strange names and one jumped out at me – Titius – because it made me think of Timaeus and Critias (I think that’s how you spell it but I could be wrong).  It seemed  like a Roman name to me and it turned out that there was a Roman politician called Titius.  Anyway I need to go away and think about this dream some more but if anyone wants to comment, offer interpretation or any observations I would be really interested.

 

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Get up!

Published September 21, 2015 by Laura Crean Author

I believe the Lord has been guiding me to study the book of Acts this last week and I came across a YouTube video that enables you to watch a stunning dramatization of this most inspiring book, whilst following along with your NIV bible.  I encourage anyone who learns in a more visual way and may struggle with reading the bible to watch it.  The other books of the New Testament are also available but it is acts I wanted to focus on at the moment.  I will put the video at the end of this post.

It was quite late already by the time I started watching but I had my Women’s Devotional Bible in front of me to read along, and so I started my journey into Acts.  Unfortunately half way through the film (and the book) I fell asleep!

Skipping a couple of days I opened my bible on the study on page 1293 entitled “A Mother’s Prayer” (Read Acts 1:1-14).  The study sets the scene by talking about a woman called Monica and her constant prayer for her son Augustine, who didn’t follow his mother’s faith and led a sinful life.  He did however eventually wake up to Christ and became, of course, a very famous fourth century Bishop.  All his life his mother prayed for him, confident that God would step in and wake her son from his sinful slumber.

In the bible reading we see how Mary must have struggled when her younger sons didn’t have faith in their older brother Jesus and they must have been constantly foremost in her prayers.  And we see how after Jesus ascends into heaven, his mother is among those in the upper room praying along with Jesus’ brothers.  In fact his brother James is one of the first people Jesus appears to.

I really took hold of this lesson as a mother myself, praying for my children daily that they will be woken up to God’s glory.  But as a mother who has faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and saviour, I am very conscious of the need to be gently encouraging – because children don’t always listen to their parents with an open heart, let’s face it – and I don’t want the opposite to happen and push them further from God.

Now every Sunday I get up and go to church and I wake my children up and tell them I am going to church and if they want to come they have an hour or half an hour (depending on when I wake them) to get up, dressed and with it and come with me.  I am a single mother and the girl’s father has them every other weekend (he doesn’t go to church) so as my children keep telling me: “This is your thing Mum not ours!”  I try not to nag but give them the option of coming with me.  Usually I get a few groans of “No Thanks!”  and they turn over and go back to sleep!  However Last Sunday I suddenly had the urge to change tactics (just the once.  I wasn’t planning on doing it every week, but I felt the Holy Spirit stirring in the house making me bold and spurring me on.)  So I shouted up the stairs: “GET UP!  We’re ALL going out to church this morning!”  The usual moans and groans of teenage angst drifted back down the stairs at me: “Muuuum I’m tired. I really don’t want to go – it’s your thing not mine!”  Then I shouted back up the stairs: “It’s not a thing – it’s an opportunity – now GET UP!  You don’t have to come every week but today we’re ALL going.  As it turned out the morning was really amazing and I was so happy that my children (well 2 of them anyway) had come with me and had actually enjoyed the morning too.

Saturday I opened my devotional bible again to Acts and was quite surprised to find the next study on pg 1304 was entitled “Get up!” (Read Acts 9:1-43)  Obviously this immediately made me think of my struggles to get my children up out of bed on a Sunday morning, so I read on with interest.  The study actually started speaking about parents trying to get teenagers out of bed!  I had to have a little giggle at (what I thought) was God’s sense of humour as a father relating to me as a mother.  Then I read on and the bible study asks you to look at the different ways people were told to “Get up!” in Acts 9.

First in (Acts 9:5-6) Saul is knocked to the ground by the light of Jesus’ presence and blinded on the road to Damascus:

          “Who are you , Lord?” Saul asked.

          “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” He replied.

          “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Later on in (Acts 9:34-35) Peter comes across a paralyzed man:

          “Aeneas,”  Peter said to him,

          “Jesus Christ heals you.  Get up and roll up your mat.”

Immediately Aeneas got up.  All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.”

Then lastly, in (Acts 9:40) Peter is led to the body of Tabitha (a faithful disciple who always helped the poor and had died):

          Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed.

          Turning towards the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha get up.”

          She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.”

Well as you can imagine the story spread and many people became believers.

I have really been inspired and encouraged this week by all these examples in the book of Acts and it spoke to me of just how different all our journeys are.  As it points out in the bible study, we are all on different journeys, you may need God to knock you off your horse, heal you or resurrect you depending on where you are spiritually.   Which brings me to the end of the week.  Friday I had a lovely catch up with a very dear friend of mine, who has been with me on my journey and who I know has been constantly praying for me.  Somehow she had double booked her morning and another friend of hers also turned up, and the 3 of us had a wonderful morning chatting, eating a lovely lunch prepared by my friend and sharing our testimonies.  It was then that I told my new friend about the day I met our mutual friend and how amazing my encounter with God was that day.  In a way it reminded me of Saul’s encounter (although obviously not as dramatic!) But i was literally stopped in my tracks as I hurried to pass the church and the rather exuberant pastor sitting outside happily inviting people in to join in with a family event taking place.  I was offended by his intrusion into my day and I politely declined with some excuse and hurried across the road.  My eldest daughter, just 4 years old at the time, cried and carried on and on about how she wanted her face painted.  I tried to take her into the local corner shop, thinking to bribe her with sweets to stop her winging.  Well – it was at that point, standing in the middle of a very quiet coastal village, with nobody around me, that “someone” whispered quite calmly, gently but in a demanding way in my ear:

“Turn around!” – which I did.  I turned around in the street to see who it was whispering in my ear and there was nobody there!  My little heart started pounding, I can tell you, at the sudden realization that it had been God!  God had just caught me trying to bribe my 4 year old with sweets NOT to go to church.  I was so stunned and ashamed that I immediately went back to the church, where I met, amongst others, the dear friend I was visiting on Friday.

I would love to tell you that after that amazing encounter with God in the very quiet coastal village of Pevensey Bay, I was a loyal and faithful Christian – I’d be lying!  That was just one small step on my journey to being woken up by God and thankfully he never gave up on me, throughout all my backsliding, and neither did those who continued to pray for me through darker times.  Now I know Jesus was always with me, gently shaking me until I woke up, opened my heart and heard him again.  It’s funny how children have ‘selective hearing’ isn’t it?  Sometimes it isn’t until the circumstances and context of the situation are just right that they suddenly hear what you are trying to say, don’t you think?  It is the same when God is trying to talk to us.

I am happy to report that one of my daughters was given a little shake last Sunday and yesterday (This Sunday) I had no problem getting her up – it seems she wants to be more involved with the church and was very excited to talk to the young visiting preacher who spoke about being a “lighthouse”.

Devotion to God’s Word – Buried Treasure

Published August 31, 2015 by Laura Crean Author

Saturday night I went to bed as usual and picked up my bible to read, but I just didn’t know where to start.  I had been picking books at random and reading them in depth – for example I have just finished reading Isaiah, and sometimes something will jump out at me and sometimes I’m a little confused.  So, like I said,  I had just finished reading Isaiah and had felt like it had been a hard slog.  I had enjoyed my reading and had had some Ah Ha moments but at this time I thought to myself: where now?  And I prayed saying: Lord can you help me to know where to start with your word.  I started reading Jeremiah, because it is the next book and I enjoyed it because it was related to the video testimony in the last post, but I soon fell asleep still hungry for God’s Word.

Then on Sunday evening after the house of prayer, my Pastor gave me a brand new, very shiny copy of the NIV Women’s Devotional Bible, which is pink and purple by the way – it’s really pretty.  I was so excited to get home and explore it, thinking this was perfect for someone who doesn’t know where to start.  But when I opened it up, I was just as lost as to where to start as before!  Should I read it from cover to cover, doing the one year through the bible showed in a tick list on pg 1516?  Or maybe I should start with the 60 day overview of the bible on pg 1520.  Or maybe one of the 30 day studies.  Or should I just go down the subject index on pg 1543 and dip in and out?  Oh dear!

I closed my eyes and prayed again, saying: Thank you Lord for answering my prayer and sending me this new, very pretty bible and please bless Pastor Freddie for thinking of offering one to me, but where do you want me to start?  I opened my eyes and they went straight to the subject titled Bible Study on pg 1149.  It was titled: BURIED TREASURE (Read Mathew 13:1-58).  And this is what I learned:

Jesus spoke to the people in parables and gave interpretation to his disciples.  Jesus wants us to understand his message about the Kingdom of Heaven but he also wants us to seek with an open heart.  Like digging for buried treasure, he wants us to hear his word, find him there and delight in him.  Reading the bible should lead you to the treasure – and the more you seek, the more you will find, and the more you find, the more you will want to seek.

“Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance.  Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.  This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;

though hearing they do not hear or understand.”

 (Mathew 13:12,13)

“But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”

 (Mathew 13:16)

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Lord, please give me ears to hear and eyes to see…

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“My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.  I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old – things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.  We will not hide them from our descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.”

(Psalm 78: 1-4)

“let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance – for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

(Proverbs 1:5-7)

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding – indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

(Proverbs 2:1-6)

When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.  He told them,

“The secret of the Kingdom of God has been given to you.  But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that,

“they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,

and ever hearing but never understanding;

otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!”

(Mark 4:10-12)

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!”

(Romans 11:33)

“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”

(Isaiah 45:3) thank you to my friend Chris who pointed this one out to me after reading the blog post – what a gem

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Thank you Lord for showing me where to start and giving me a path to  follow…

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!  I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

(Psalm 119:103-105)

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I wonder which path the Lord will light for me tomorrow.  I get shivers of anticipation just thinking about it.

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