Understanding the Bible

I haven’t had as much time to write blogs because I have been writing lesson ideas for the classes in Ethiopia and making charts for my friends who are studying Isaiah with me. I forget that for some people trying to understand the Bible seems very challenging – like a whole new language. I wrote down the steps for what I do (almost unconsciously) each time I open God’s word.

Always Pray first. God opens our minds to all spiritual understanding.

Choose a book to begin (perhaps start with a gospel or a short letter). Read small sections over and over.

After you read the section 2-3 times, list the main events and/or people and words/phrases that are repeated. These are key words.

Try to answer questions about what you read: Who, What, Where, When, Why?

In any section ask yourself – What do I learn about God the Father, Jesus, the Son, or the Holy Spirit?

Is there an instruction for you to follow – either a positive (Do this) or negative (Don’t do this)?

Look for lessons you can apply to your life. Some may be good example and some bad examples to avoid.

Finally summarize your reading/studying for the day by using SOAP. You can make this as short or as long as you like.





Some things are confusing so if you get stuck, focus on what is clear and you can understand. The more we read and study, the more our understanding will grow.

The next day begin where you left off. It is best to study an entire book (it may take weeks or months) so you can gain the context.

Example: 2 Corinthians 9:8-9 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in every thing, you may have an abundance for every good deed. As it is written “He who scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, his righteousness endures forever.”

Repeated words – all, every

Who? God

What? is able to make all grace abound

When? (not answered in this section)

Where? (not answered in this section)

Why? That you will have sufficiency in every thing and abundance for every good deed

Instruction – give to the poor

Scripture – 2 Corinthians 9:8-9

Observation – God promises to abundantly supply what I need for every good deed

Application – Who has a need that I can help with?

Prayer – Lord, thank you for your grace. Remind me that your generosity will supply everything I need.

Gifts of Healing

To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophesy. 1 Corinthians 12:8-9

If I had to identify my spiritual gifts, I would list teaching and encouragement. However, I have prayed for God to give me every one of the gifts mentioned in each of the spiritual gift passages. Why not ask big, right? How amazing it would be to touch someone as Jesus did and see immediate miraculous results, but do God’s answers ever look like I expect?

After years of thinking, “I just don’t have that gift,” I wonder if God has given me a version of the gift of healing that doesn’t look like I described above. Until I typed out the verse above, I had not noticed the gifts of healing and effecting of miracles were distinct phrases. I had associated only the miraculous with healing, not the seemingly mundane act of listening. By the Spirit, for the common good, I have been given the gift and ministry of listening. As with any manifestation of a spiritual gift, God is the one orchestrating the effect and all glory belongs to Him.

As I listen to people share their daily lives, I find God brings healing. In one class I took, the phrase, “We are wounded in relationships; we are healed through relationships” was frequently quoted. I pray that as I sit with others, they discover God’s presence in their life story. I want them to embrace and daily live in our Lord’s shalom. In fact, one meaning of shalom is to bring order from chaos, for light to penetrate darkness. Peace, healing and wholeness are all intertwined.

Healing takes place in the presence of Jesus, sometimes imperceptibly.

Ready, Set, Shots!

Even my husband, a seasoned veteran of 3 wars, grimaced when I told him I had to have 6 shots at one time. I had already had one in preparation for my July 4th departure for Dire Dawe, Ethiopia. The availability of the yellow fever vaccine is limited, but thankfully I located a Naval hospital about 85 miles away which had vaccines for non-military travelers. The young corpsman was quite skilled, so I experienced minimal pain.

We had our first team meeting last week. Except for Brandon and Hannah, our team leaders, I did not know anyone in the room. I was feeling a bit uncertain about my decision to spend 10 days with unknown companions. This was only exacerbated when I was given the task of teaching 8 segments,  75 minute each, of vocabulary to approximately 50 students at a time. Reportedly, the English camp we will be offering on July 8-11 includes approximately 200 school age children ages 8-15 with varying levels of English comprehension. Except for being a mom and leading Bible studies, I have no education or experience teaching. Fortunately, my daughter has taught English in China for 3 years, so I will consult her for ideas and suggestions.

Each of our team meeting begins with a time of prayer, that is a place of security to me – talking to our heavenly Father. I would like to ask each of you reading this to pray for Project HOPE as the Spirit leads you.

Health Clinic- The clinic offers free care, medicine and education; many of those in the village have leprosy.
Orphan and needy child care -70 sponsored children in this program
Primary Education- the English Camp is part of this component which serves not only students but helps train teachers
Economic Development – micro-finance loans to help small business men and women

*For strengthening and equipping the local church of about 400 who have trusted Christ –In this predominantly Muslim region, some believers must worship “underground”
*For our team to depend of the Lord and follow however He leads, for adjustments and transitions, for the Lord to open doors of opportunity.
*For many to find hope in Jesus and come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. You shall multiply the nation; You shall increase their gladness; They will be glad in Your presence. Isaiah 9:2-3

I will update you after I return through the blog, but you can learn more and see pictures during the trip at this website. https://www.facebook.com/ProjectHopeClinic/

My first post on my trip is called “My Turn!” https://poiema2016.wordpress.com/2019/04/13/my-turn/