“Every day that you wake up on this earth is an opportunity to expand your understanding of who God is, and of what He has for you to do.”

One of the blessings of Cornerstone is that we have individuals from all life stages, seeking to serve God as one body and to learn together. As a woman in our church who has already raised three children (and has been blessed with three grandchildren as well), I suppose in many ways I am in the category of “older women” that Paul wrote about to Titus. But one of the things I’ve learned as the years have gone by is that you are never finished growing and learning in the Lord. Every day that you wake up on this earth is an opportunity to expand your understanding of who God is, and of what He has for you to do.

About two years ago, a friend gave me a daily devotional. I didn’t look at it for a few months because I didn’t think a daily devotional was what I wanted. When I started reading it, the Lord used it as a seed in my heart to study the Scriptures more earnestly. I have spent my whole life reading the Bible, and my parents, who were faithful believers, raised me by having me memorize Bible verses. But the type of study I have embarked on in the past several years has been deeper and richer than any I had previously done. With the referral of some books from Pastor Zach, I started studying the Pentateuch. The Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Bible) is foundational to the whole Bible, speaking of what is to come, giving greater understanding to the why, where, who, what, and when, from Creation, to the coming of Jesus, right up to Revelation.

The study of these books was a HUGE blessing to my heart, helping to open my eyes (with the help of the 5 Ws above) as to how to better understand God’s Word. Scripture is not always easy to comprehend, but I have been extremely gratified to see the ways that God has blessed my eager study and diligent effort with more insight and greater understanding. In Hebrews 5:12-14, it says, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” The age referred to here is not in years, but in spiritual maturity. How satisfying to “graduate” from milk to solid food, and to find just how nourishing and sustaining it can be. That’s what eating the meat of the Word is all about.

A big takeaway for me from seeking Him more and more through reading (both His Word and studies written by qualified authors) is that God wants us to get closer to Him so that He can commune with us. He wants us to cleave to/abide in Him. The more we get to know Him, the more we “hear” him. You have more in common with people with whom you have a close relationship, even if you are very different on the surface. But a cursory relationship does not engender communication. As Pastor Brian says: “He speaks in whispers, and without that closeness you won’t hear his voice.” His voice is soft, and you can’t hear His voice if you’re not “listening closely.” I have been devoted to the Lord all of my life, but in the last several years it is as if my ears have become more attuned to His voice, and my relationship with Him has grown as a result of this new closeness.

One of the true gifts of becoming closer to the Lord is that we begin to seek not just greater understanding and knowledge, but practical ways to serve God here and now. When we are striving to serve God in what we do, even if we don’t know how God will use it, we can trust that He will direct our steps. When my friend gave me that devotional, she had no way of knowing the way God was using her to plant a seed that would grow and flourish. As it says in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” What a blessing to be able to participate as God’s fellow workers, where our smallest act can be used by God for something great. So do for God’s Kingdom as you’re able, in whatever form that takes. You never know the plan He has for that little or big thing that you do in His name and for His glory, spurred on by your study of His Word.

The three books Pastor Zach recommended to me are the following:

Eileen Austin

Eileen is a member of Cornerstone and serves the church by co-leading a community group.

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