By Brenda Daniels

Dear ladies,

Magazines, inspirational talks and Christian self-help books often call us as women to ‘be the best we can be’. They encourage us to look out for ourselves because ‘we’re worth it’. Even in Christian circles we may be urged to ‘find our God-given potential’.

In contrast to reading the Bible these inner journeys seem more relevant and personal. Bible teaching can sometimes feel dry and far removed from our everyday lives. In fact, according to Kathleen Nielson in Word-filled Women’s Ministry, there is a ‘perennial struggle in women’s Bible study circles. Two distinct sorts of camps seem to develop,’ she says. ‘Shall we be warm and welcoming and personal, or shall we be academic and study the text?’

This sort of distinction assumes that the Bible is not personal. Not personal? ‘What could be more personal,’ asks Nielson, ‘than feeling the very breath of God – actually hearing him speak?’ You see ‘All Scripture is breathed out by God …’ it says in 2 Timothy 3:16. Imagine this: ‘Imagine God standing at the foot of your bed at night talking to you. Imagine – the God of the universe speaking right to you. It’s that personal’ (John Frame, cited by Kathleen Nielson in Word-filled Women’s Ministry).

Reading and hearing God’s Word is like sitting at God’s knee and listening to him speak to us. That great God of the universe, the one who breathed life into us, speaks to us through his Word, the Bible.

Take some time now with your Freedom in Fellowship partner to ponder God’s personal word. Together meditate on the following words in Isaiah 55. Encourage one another to find fulfilment and satisfaction, growth and change in God’s word, his powerful and very personal word.

‘Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;

‘For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.’

Isaiah 55:1-3, 10-11.