We had a really special blessing for our November Lampstand meeting: Bethany Pedigo came to lead worship! Bethany is a long-time friend of ours from back in our days at King College (now King University). She lives in KY now with her husband, Josh and their three children. We love and value their friendship a great deal as it has spanned many years and many miles and we are all still pursuing the Lord's heart. What a gift these long-time friendships are!
Bethany did a beautiful job of leading us in worship and there were several things that God highlighted through that time. The testimony came to us after the meeting from one friend who attended that the songs that were selected and the prayers and words ministered specifically to emotional and physical needs this person was carrying. Praise to the Lord! Our prayer is that in these times the Lord would receive praise and be lifted up and that people would have opportunity to encounter the Lord and be fueled in His presence.
Matthew shared about staying connected to the Holy Spirit and specifically doing that through the process of pray-reading the Scripture.
What he was sharing was so simple, yet so critical. Too often we read through the Scriptures as going through a mental exercise, and we fail to bring our hearts near to Jesus as we read. Matthew shared a Scripture from John 5:39 that says, "You search the scriptures for you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life."
Jesus was reprimanding the religious leaders of His day, saying that even if you search out the Scriptures day in and day out, if you never COME TO JESUS, you won't find real life in those Scriptures.
So how critical for us still today to bring our hearts and minds TO JESUS as we read His word. Matthew exhorted us to stay in conversation with Jesus as we read the Word of God. Begin an ongoing dialogue. Talk to Him as you read!
He handed out a couple very helpful worksheets that offer ideas for how to do this.
The primary one was about Prayer-reading the Scripture. The idea is to actually pray the Bible passages back to God. There are two broad categories of truth: truths that exhort you to believe and those that exhort you to obey.
1. When you come to truths exhorting you to believe:
-Take time to actually thank Jesus for the specific truth you are reading.
-Ask Him to reveal His truths to you in a greater way.
2. When you come to truths exhorting you to obey:
-Commit yourself to obey what the passage describes.
-Ask the Lord to empower you to obey the Scriptures.
On the other handout were several Scriptures to use as examples for us; so, we took time to pick and talk to the Lord about it. We then shared some thoughts about these together. I so love and value the interaction time that meeting in a small group like this allows. It is so precious to engage with the Lord and then share from the place of encouraged connection with Him.
I am so grateful for those who gather and are willing to share what the Lord is saying to them in the midst of these times!
Matthew or Julie Wine