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Words from GOD – Words to GOD

Woman´s Lib. Jan. 2017-All above Else

Above All Else

Kay Arthur and Pam Gillaspie

Pam Gillaspie

“Stay on the train.

God will get you where he wants you

when he wants you there.”

My mentor, Jan Silvious, gave me these words

of counsel in the coffee shop during a time

of particular angst in my ministry life.

I was thirty-something with

one published book to my name,

a call on my life, and an unclear path ahead.

In my youthful zeal I wanted

the future now, and I was ready

to break down doors and push forward

in my own strength

(or as the Bible would put it, in my flesh)

to get there. Maybe you can relate.

Though not in a chapter-and-verse format,

Jan’s brief words of applied wisdom

and our subsequent conversation

brought together countless Scriptures

that helped me work through

one of the tougher questions in ministry:

Where is the line between stewarding

the gifts God has given and being … pushy?

I wish I’d known that what is

of utmost importance is not

“What is my will for my life?”

or even “What is God’s will for my life?”

but rather, “What is God’s will?” —Pam

Jan’s counsel to stay on the train

has helped me remember

some very practical truths

about God from his Word

and how it applies in the day-

to-dayness of my life.

• I’m reminded of the reality

of God’s sovereignty and God’s goodness.

It’s one thing to believe t

heoretically that God is sovereign.

It’s another to rest in that truth,

trusting that he

“causes all things to work together

for good to those who love God,

to those who are called

according to his purpose”

(Rom 8:28).

It’s believing as the psalmist

says that God is good and does good

(Psa 119:68). If God is sovereign,

I never have to push.

If I’m doing anything to increase me,

it’s time to rethink, re-evaluate,

and course correct.

• I’m reminded that what is

of utmost importance is not

“What is my will for my life?”

or even “What is God’s will for my life?”

but rather, “What is God’s will?”

We live in an increasingly narcissistic culture

that elevates self above all else.

In this application phrase

I’m reminded that God is above all:

“All the inhabitants of the earthare

accounted as nothing,

but he does according to his will

in the host of heaven and among

the inhabitants of earth;

and no one can ward off his hand

or say to him, ‘What have you done?’ ”

(Dan 4:35).

If my questions about God’s will

have more to do with me

than with him, there’s a problem.

• I’m reminded that his

timing is always right.

God’s timing was right with Noah,

Abraham, Moses, and Paul.

If he seems late, the problem isn’t him, it’s me.

As I said, Jan has mentored me

over the years just as Kay Arthur

mentored Jan years before

(although they’d each tell you

that neither of them realized

they were in a mentoring relationship),

teaching Jan how to study God’s Word

for herself and letting Jan

walk alongside her in ministry.

I’ve been blessed to learn

from both of them,

and with this project from Faithlife,

I’ve had the unique opportunity

to compile some questions for Kay

so others can benefit, too.

I’ve tried to think back to questions

that I’ve either asked or

would have been wise to ask

over the years.

It is my prayer that you will find

the answers as helpful as I have

and that they will point you not

to the messenger, but to our

Lord and Savior.

Pam: What truth has held

you during your most difficult times

in ministry and life?

Kay Arthur: The single most important truth

I have learned as I have studied

the whole counsel of God is who God is

(his character and attributes)

and that he is sovereign over all.

I believe with every fiber of my being

that when I open the Bible I am reading

the words that God breathed

and preserved for all eternity.

This is where I find God—

in his Word.

And it is not secondhand knowledge.

This is where I learn truth.

God is truth, and for this reason

the Son of God said,

“I am the way, the truth and the life”

(John 14:6).

Consequently the Bible becomes

the plumb line by which

I measure everything I hear,

everything I believe, and everything I feel.

Everything is to be measured

in the light of truth—

and that expels darkness—

and with it comes wholeness and healing.

Knowing that God is sovereign,

that he rules over all,

and that everything is filtered through

his fingers of love has enabled me

to walk through every difficult circumstance

of life (and like all of us, there have been many).

I know God loves me, and I know that

he desires my highest good.

I also know my Father loves me

with a perfect love, and as he says

in 1 John, “perfect love casts out fear”

(1 John 4:18).

The hours, the years I have spent

studying God’s Word inductively

are the greatest investment I have ever made.

And the dividends! Oh, the dividends

from that investment are worth more

than all the treasures and

accolades of the world.

As Moses said in Deuteronomy 32:47,

his words are my life.

I wish I’d known that God’s

magnanimous grace and love

would not only cover all my weaknesses

and mistakes, but constrain me from

seeking what I wanted because

my Father had other things in mind. —

Kay

The dividends of investing time

in studying God’s Word this way

(inductively, face to face with God in his Word,

observing, interpreting, and applying his teachings)

are peace, confidence, and the ability

to stand firm in the power of his Spirit

no matter what happens.

I am not saying there are not tears,

but as the psalmist writes,

joy always comes in the morning—

with the dawning of the light.

Pam:

What would you say to women

who want to do “big things” for God?

How concerned should people

be with numbers in their ministries?

Kay: If doing “big things”

and numbers become important to you,

or an indicator of your success in ministry,

I would urge you to take a sabbatical

from ministry until you are

willing to be unknown, unrecognized …

and your only ambition is to be

“pleasing to him” no matter the cost

(2 Cor 5:9–10).

God tells us he will not share

his glory with any man.

The only one in whom mankind

beheld God’s glory was his Son,

who said to his Father as

he faced the cross,

“not my will, but yours”

(Luke 22:42).

I remember the early days

of our ministry, when Jack

and I were driving to Atlanta

from Chattanooga every week.

I taught a class there that

had grown to about 1,400.

Several men asked Jack and me to lunch.

They said they could put me

on prominent platforms all over this nation.

The invitation scared me.

My answer was,

“Then I would never know if

it was you or God!”

God in his sovereignty protected me,

and I am eternally thankful.

Little did I realize then

what God had purposed.

Precept Ministries International

is currently ministering in

185 countries and 70 languages—

not because of “Jack and Kay”

but because of the team God

raised up with us to establish people

in his Word.

This is why, despite all our frailties

and personal inadequacies as a couple,

God raised up PMI for

these critical, cataclysmic days.

He is raising up and equipping

an army of men, women, teens,

and children who desire to live

as exemplary followers of Jesus Christ,

studying the Bible inductively,

viewing the world biblically,

making disciples intentionally,

and serving the church faithfully

in the power of the Holy Spirit.

God’s kingdom is on their hearts—

not on kingdoms of their own.

Also beware of pride!

The little couch in the breakfast room

where I once had my quiet time

would shake as I wept before God

when he revealed pride in my life.

Whenever you decide

“to do something for God”

ask yourself why.

Does it have to be your ministry?

Pam:

Does the weight and pace of ministry

ever negatively affect your time

alone with God?

If so, how do you deal with that?

Kay: The answer to the first question

is “yes” if I am not careful,

and especially when I am away from home

and on someone else’s schedule.

I am a gal who needs 8–9 hours of sleep

to function at top mental performance,

especially since I am older.

Also, I am dyslectic, somewhat ADD,

have lots of energy, love being with

and enjoying people,

and don’t want to miss the party!

Therefore, my best time for quiet

with the Lord is the morning,

and I have to guard that carefully.

Not in a legalistic way, so that I think

if I didn’t meet alone with God

my day was ruined,

but just because when I am with him

in his Word, I realize that nothing else

in life really matters but him

and pleasing him.

He is God—my God, my Lord.

My greatest area of weakness

is my prayer life—not as I am

movingthrough the day,

because I am seeking him

even in finding my keys or a parking place,

for what I am to say to people,

what I am to do, how I am to respond, etc.

However, when it comes to

extended times of intercession,

I feel I am woefully lacking,

and of that I am ashamed.

So as you read this,

beloved member of his body,

please pray for me.

Pam:

Looking back with the benefit

of having walked with Jesus

for more than 50 years,

is there anything you would counsel

younger women to do

differently than you have?

Kay:

I hesitate to answer this because

it sounds presumptuous,

but nothing specifically comes to mind.

And it is not that I think

I am perfect or that there are

not things I would change

or do differently, but honestly this is life,

and God in his sovereignty transcends

all our mistakes and leaves us with

Romans 8:28–39.

I believe him, and I think

if whoever reads this will think

on what I have already shared,

she (or even perhaps he)

will understand my response

to this question.

Pam: What is the biggest lesson

you’ve learned over your years

walking with God?

Kay: His magnanimous grace and love

that not only covers all my weaknesses

and mistakes, but that has constrained me

from seeking what I wanted,

desired greatly, and never had because

obviously my Father

had other things in mind—

and it is okay, because he is God.

I could give a huge number of verses,

but I think we can summarize them in

Galatians 2:20:

“I am crucified with Christ,

nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ

lives in me; and the life which I now live

in the flesh I live by the faith

of the Son of God, who loved me

and gave himself for me”

(I first learned this in the kjv).

My life is not mine.

God has used me despite me—

and that can only be because of

his love and grace.

I have never ever doubted

his love or tried to hide

anything from him.

I think much of this understanding

can be attributed to studying

both the Old and New Testaments

book by book—inductively

. Daniel 11:32b

in its biblical and historical context

is one of my favorites:

“But the people who know their God will

stand firm and do exploits (take action).”

I also love Psalm 119:102:

“I have not turned aside from

your ordinances, for you, yourself have taught me.”

It so describes what inductive study is—

God is the teacher.

He provides the plumb line

by which to measure

all we hear and believe.

And although you didn’t ask,

let me say that I believe

the greatest single cause

of the weakness of Christians today

(and their ineffectiveness in this culture)

is because they read the writings

of others and won’t make the time

to study the Word of God for themselves.

God has given us 66 books in the Bible.

How many of them do you

img_1601 think he wants us to know?

***

Bios

Kay Arthur and Pam Gillaspie serve together at Precept Ministries International (www.precept.org). They are both passionate Bible students and teachers. Kay’s exciting, practical approach to the Scripture has influenced thousands to use the inductive Bible study method in their personal studies. Following in Kay’s footsteps, Pam has authored two Precept Bible study series.

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