Psalm 94:12-13 AMP
12 Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law, 13 That You may give him power to keep himself calm in the days of adversity, until the [inevitable] pit of corruption is dug for the wicked.
These verses don't really have anything to do with what I am writing today. I just thought that they were extremely encouraging for the times we are living in. These are definitely days of adversity. Knowing that God has given us power to keep ourselves calm during these days is comforting. He has already provided what we need; now we get to use this power and keep ourselves calm.
For more months than I can remember, less than a year, but long enough I can't remember their beginning, a gentle-voiced lady has been calling me each week to discuss the Bible. This gentle-voiced woman has been faithfully calling to share scriptures and the interpretation of them she has been trained to hold to. Yesterday, she called and a friend of hers joined in our weekly discussion. Towards the end of the conversation, her friend took over. Unlike the gentle-voiced lady, her friend wasn't gentle, kind, or respectful. She was zealous. In her zealousness she was quite rude. She was not a witness of Jehovah as she claimed.
The phone call ended with this intense, driven woman telling me to think about joining an organization that trained their members to witness door to door along with other encouragements that shall remain unspoken. At first, I was rather shell-shocked at the force of the verbal barrage that had been launched against me. My gentle-voiced lady is kind, she is gentle. She isn't pushy or rude as her friend had been. I felt sorrowful at the unneccessary force and verbal shoving this new voice had used. Not sorrow for myself but sorrow for her. You see, this woman had just shared with me her passion for witnessing for Jehovah in the rudest, most unkind, pushy way I have ever been spoken to. Yet, Jehovah is love. (1 John 4:8) Jehovah God tells us that His love in me isn't rude, it is kind, it is patient, it doesn't demand its own way. (1 Corinthians 13) I don't know who this woman is a witness of, but it isn't Jehovah God. Jehovah loves for He is love. (1 John 4:8)
Over 30 minutes of an afternoon were spent with these two women, one gentle-voiced, another rude. They were attempting to point out the error of my beliefs to me. Beliefs which I hold firm to and will not ever be persuaded otherwise on. Why not ever? Because the Bible tells me so? No, though it does. Because I know Him. Really, truly know Him. These woman can discuss religious opinions with me day after day, but they cannot take away my relationship with Him, the one, true living God, the three in One. For over 32 years I have been walking and talking with Him. He has saved me, healed me, kept me, provided for me, comforted me, sustained me through good times and bad. I am a new creation in Jesus. I am loved by the Father, saved and redeemed by the Son, filled and empowered with the Holy Spirit. No religious doctrine or man's misinterpretation of scripture can take that away.
Had I never walked with Him, had I never heard His voice, perhaps their training would be more effective. However, I have heard Him speak. He has led and been my friend for many, many years. I belong to Him. I am His. He has called me by His name. It is He who calms my fears, dries my tears, and bore my sorrows. He it is who strengthens me with His joy and surrounds me with His peace. Thirty years of fellowship and communion together are not influenced by the mistaken religious lies of men.
It was the voice of God speaking a scripture verse to me when I was ready to quit trying so hard as a teenager. In high school, it was also His voice who urgently told me to call a classmate I really didn't know. The classmate who was preparing to slit her wrists but instead came to know Jesus because I called. Likewise, it was He who told me to warm a friend that the vehicle beside us was going to pull into our lane in an attempt to wreck us. When a young wife, He is the one whose still, small voice told me what meal my husband was hungry for many times. Every time, My Beloved would excitedly say that the meal was just what he had been hoping we would have. As a mother, countless times, God has gently led me to speak certain words, ask specific questions, shown me truth concerning my children. They too have often been thrilled that I prepared exactly what they were hungering for.
Yes, I study the scriptures. I study them not out of duty or religious obligation. I study them because God, my everything, tells me to. (2 Timothy 2:15) I learn them, hide them in my heart so that I might not sin against Him. (Psalm 119:11) I feed on them because they are life to me. They are the Sword the Spirit wields. (Ephesians 6:17) The reasons I study and learn the scriptures are too numerous to tell. Yet, if I were to list all of the reasons I study the Holy Bible none of the reasons are for religion. I learn of and study His Word for Him, because I love Him. As a lover devours letters from her beloved and carries them close to her heart, I read the Word of God. It is love for Him and Him alone that prompts my study. For love, a living, personal relationship with God is something the gentle-voiced and zealous women don't understand. It is something their training has not provided them.
These women who so faithfully call on the phone and knock on doors, who earnestly strive to show me the supposed error in my ways and draw me to their organization, they study because they are commanded to by men. Even then, they are only permitted to study specific scriptures from a specific translation in a specific order. They are not allowed the freedom to study on their own freely from any translation they choose. These women are working diligently to earn a chance at an earthly someday paradise when all the while a Heavenly Father desires to reveal Himself to them here, now. He longs to speak to them, to walk and talk with them in a living, loving, personal relationship made possible through Jesus, His son, God - the Son right now.
If they only knew that they don't have to work for a maybe chance at a someday reward. Such glorious delight would be theirs if they could get past their religion long enough to experience true relation. It is for this I pray, that I will be a true, accurate witness of Jehovah. That the light of His love will shine forth into the darkness of their understanding and that these women who so faithfully call will experience the love of God. That their faithful study of the scriptures will be transformed from a work demanded by their religion into an act of loving obedience. Dear God, may the gentle-voiced and the zealously pushy know the truth, and may the truth, Jesus, set them free. Free to love, serve, and obey. Free to experience You fully, completely, and wholly. In Jesus' name, Amen.