By Deborah McLoed
Have you ever felt like a fool where the Bible is concerned? I once quipped to our senior minister something about reading the book of Joseph. And this was after I had been regularly attending church for three years and had worked in the church office for a while! I remember returning to my office, grabbing a Bible off the shelf, and looking for the book of Joseph. It was a defining moment in my spiritual life.
From then to now, I make a conscious effort to daily immerse myself in God’s Word, because clearly (for me at least) spirituality takes more than just sitting in the pew on Sundays.
The single greatest person to help me thrive spiritually is the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:16, 17).
As far as books go, there are several study Bibles I enjoy that offer insightful commentary and reading plans. I’ve found myself delving into nonfiction texts that study topics such as Heaven, church history, biblical feasts, Satan, and the Jewish roots of Christianity. I also enjoy Lynn Austin’s historical fiction writing. Her five-book series Chronicles of the Kings is true to the biblical narrative.
Moving beyond books to other resources, I benefit from Andy Stanley’s sermons on Daystar Television. A series of videos titled That the World May Know by Ray Vander Laan takes me on virtual journeys to the Holy Land and includes inspiring faith lessons.
Bible lessons commonly occur in my car too. Hearing God’s Word spoken with a dramatic flare is a treat and The Word of Promise Audio Bible delivers it. I listen to top-tier preaching via Moody Radio.
Some of my best spiritual growth opportunities had to be searched for—and maybe required some cash—but they have had a positive impact. My walk has been enriched by attending special events at venues other than my own church:
• Last year my husband, Larry, and I traveled across town to visit a full-sized model of the tabernacle.
• Before our church offered Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, we enrolled in it elsewhere.
• Another local church routinely has seminary professors teach on Wednesday nights in February.
• I attended an interfaith Passover Seder hosted by a local synagogue and was blessed.
• Perspectives on the World Christian Movement is a 15-week missions course that broadened my worldview.
• The North American Christian Convention is not just for ministers; experiencing this event is a high point of my spiritual year.
• Seminary classes taught me not to be afraid of what I do not know but to delve deep and to seek out what God wants me to learn.
My spiritual growth is stretched and strengthened most when I am teaching, serving, or going on mission trips. Basically I’m putting my biblical training to use for God’s glory. I also pray for wisdom and knowledge for myself and my family (James 1:5).
I still feel foolish sometimes, but now I consider those instances learning opportunities. Shalom.
Deborah McLoed is a disciple of Jesus, wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. She lives in Brownsburg, Indiana.