In my early twenties, my husband and I had our son and it has always been important to us to bring him up knowing Jesus. At bed times I would read him a story from one of his children’s bibles (of which he has many!) and, as silly as it sounds, going back to basics helped me to remember the stories of the bible too! I had a strange sort of breakthrough brought about by reading children’s stories which I am not embarrassed to admit to. My reading isn’t great so God met with me on a really simple level and it worked. Now we were onto something! I started reading The Message which is a version of the bible I find much easier to read as the terminology is more modern. Psalm 37:4 ‘Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart’.
Our debate went on into the early hours of the morning and then continued again later on in the day. I wasn’t getting anywhere and neither were they so we left it at that. Just two minutes after finishing that conversation God moved me onto the next challenge. There was a knock at the door. My heart was still racing from frustration. My spirit was all stirred up. I answered the door and was greeted by two Jehovah’s witnesses. I nearly burst out laughing because I could see God was up to something, and I was feeling pretty drained at this point. The bell had rang and it was now time for round two! The two ladies seemed pleasant to begin with but when it became apparent there were some big differences in our understandings of God and where we go when we die it started to feel more like an attack from the enemy. God refuelled me and my spirit felt stronger than ever at this point. He gave me a discerning heart and my spirit stood to attention – listening to that still small voice of God. At the point it felt like the enemy was trying to steal my salvation I closed the door. Never before has my spirit ever felt as stirred up as this.
Because I didn’t have the best understanding of the things that had been spoken about I decided to start looking up some of the things that were discussed. Again, I used biblegateway as this made it much easier to find what I was looking for. Two weeks later there was another knock at the door. When I opened the door and to my surprise, they had returned! Only this time, the enemy threw me a curve ball by sending the same lady as before but with someone who I knew, but I was not aware was a Jehovah’s witness. We didn’t speak for long because I was about to go out and didn’t have as much patience this time. I felt awkward closing the door on someone I knew and a few days later I got in touch with her and apologised.
This led to us arranging a meeting to chat about our beliefs and how we came to know Jesus, albeit in different ways. I knew I had to prepare. I had realised by now that Jehovah’s witnesses know parts of their bible very well. I spent all morning flicking between my bible and the online bible. I was highlighting, scribbling notes, bookmarking pages. I was engrossed! It was as though God was leading a personal bible study just for me! I’d turn the page and something new would jump out at me. I was amazed! It was all so relevant!...and interesting!
Later in the day my visitor arrived as arranged and we chatted for about two hours. Our conversation was purely bible-based. In the days and weeks that followed our meeting we exchanged emails with questions and scripture. I would have to allow 2-3 hours to compose an email because I would get so engrossed in what I was reading and continually discovering. I continued to pray for a discerning heart and stayed close to the bible that God was revealing to me.
All of a sudden I was starting to realise that all this had happened because of a small prayer I prayed to God. He was personally teaching me about the bible and doing it in a way that helps me remember! I am continuing these one-to-one, God-lead bible studies but I have to make sure I have a few hours spare in the day before I get started! Praise God. I pray that God will reveal himself to you in a similar way.
Psalm 20:4 ‘May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed’
Author: Samantha Tarplin
May God bless and enrich your life
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