Wow, its been awhile since I’ve done a book review! I wish I could say that I’ve been reading, but I haven’t even done much of that! When my Goodreads Book Update came via email (with the big headline: You’ve completed 0 books of your 25 book goal for 2013) I felt book readers everywhere mentally stone me for my laziness. Fortunately its summertime which just feels like book-reading season (you would think wintertime would be, but I’m using summertime as my excuse to make it look better, is it working?)
For the past 3mos. my Women’s Bible Study group at my church has been studying Beth Moore’s, “A Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place”. It’s super-hard to do an actual “book report” over this because it’s a study-guide (like a text-book) & very personal, full of devotion’s & questions for you to answer about your own life & where you are on your walk with Christ. I wasn’t sure how to review this study, but in the end the only way I know how to review it is by (trying) to put into words how this study has changed my own personal view on specific things.
Beth Moore opens the study by letting you know that she prayed for you! Y.O.U. (and me) she prays that God pours His Spirit onto those going through this study & that He meets us where we need him too. I’ve done devotionals before, but this is the first time I’ve ever read that the author PRAYED for its readers, right away I knew this was going to be a rough study to get through. It consists of 10 sessions with 5 Days in each session; every night you’re supposed to read a “day” & answer the accompanying questions. Then at the end of the sessions, there is an hour long video viewer guide where Beth Moore wraps up all 5 sessions into a lecture (sermon-style). Its certainly a lot of work! Upon completion I felt the same accomplished feeling I got when I finished an intense semester of college!
She takes you through the story of Moses (post-freeing the Israelites) into the building of God’s Tabernacle & why that is the foundation of God dwelling inside all of us. Based in the study of Bible Scripture (mostly in the chapters of Exodus) she guides you step-by-step through the idea (the Garden of Eden), Moses’ building the Tabernacle, the hierarchy of leaders appointed, the fallout, the birth of Jesus-his life & death, the tabernacle in present times & ends the study by how the book of Revelation views the future of the Tabernacle. In case you’re unfamiliar with what the “Tabernacle” is, in a nutshell: its’ God’s Dwelling Place! His “home” on Earth.
Like I said earlier, I can’t break the study down because its very individualized. What stood out to me is going to be different than what stood out to another person doing the study. What was apparent throughout this study, however, was that God met us where we needed to be met.
For me, there was two very big chapters that stood out to me. The first one was Session 6, The Heart of a Servant; the outside structure of the Tabernacle had been built & now the decorating of the inside has begun (of course a chapter on “decorating” would naturally be one of my favorites! ). The Altar of Incense is introduced in this session. I’m going to try to explain this in the easiest way that I’ve come to know what it means: the altar of incense signifies intercession. It signifies Christ (who hasn’t been born yet) interceding our prayers to God on our behalf! It’s about offering up prayers, fragrant worship, unto God. It’s about getting past “issues” & asking for help. It’s about knowing & fully believing that God hears our prayers, that’s what the Altar of Incense is, it symbolizes prayer. One of the biggest lessons I learned in the viewer’s guide session was when Beth Moore said, “Don’t think your prayers are unanswered, they are never unanswered. Your prayer is answered the second you pray for it, but the time for the answer to be revealed to you will be in God’s timing when you’re ready to see it.” It hit me hard because the night before I watched this session I had wrote down in my journal that I was “giving up”on a prayer that had been on my heart for awhile. And just that morning the word, “Obedience” kept ringing through my head when I was dragging ass about going to Bible Study because I felt so defeated & was racking my brain to come up with an excuse why I couldn’t make it to class. That message was for me that day, that message was what God wanted me to hear to let me know my answer will be revealed (probably when I quit whining about it!).
The second session that really hit me hard was (coincidentally) the following week (I guess God was really telling me to pay attention those weeks!). It was Session 7: A Heart that Intercedes.This chapter was about the leaders, the priesthood, that God appointed for His Tabernacle & how Jesus Christ is the ultimate intercessor, the ultimate great-high priest. I had never thought about Jesus as an “intercessor” on my behalf before, how he actually talks to his father (God) about me! How awesome is that! To think that my silly little prayers are being discussed about & a plan is being shaped to answer prayers that I’ve prayed. I can just picture me in my bedroom praying for something that’s weighing on my heart, Jesus is hanging out at the sports bar with God, drinking some Guinness (because you know they’re dark-beer drinkers) watching some Ohio State football & says, “Dad, Carey’s bugging me about this…again! How do you want handle it? Seriously, she’s getting on my nerves. Let’s make this happen…soon!” I just love that! LOVE THAT! To think that God puts thought into EVERYTHING concerning my life & nothing is made in haste, no decision, is ever made in haste when it comes to the fulfillment of God’s plan for my life. That even the times I’ve screwed up, that I expressed free-will on my own life, God still allowed that mistake to happen if it fit into his greater plan for my life. I don’t know about you, but that makes me look at some of my past mistakes & think, “yeah, that sucked. It was painful, it was a tough lesson, but it really will get me to a greater destiny.”
So there ya go! That’s my review on Beth Moore: A Woman’s Heart, God’s Dwelling Place. It was a little jumbled, a little all over the place, at times painful to get through…but so worth it. I learned a lot through this Bible Study on God’s relationship with those he holds in high esteem & to think that I’m one of them, that’s kind of a cool thought. It would be a tough Bible Study to get through if you wanted to do it on your own because so much is geared towards discussion points & getting insight from others, but you could do it. I definitely recommend getting this Bible Study going in your own home church (or even if you want to start a Bible Study with friends…try this one out!). It’s so worth it!