“Observed duties maintain our credit, but secret duties maintain our life.” (John Flavel 17th Century Clergyman)
There are duties that we do, that others see but then there are duties we do, that no one will ever see. It’s the secret duties – the duty of studying God’s word and praying daily – that maintain our lives.
How are you doing with your secret duties? Did you make a new year resolution to read your Bible daily, to memorize some new verses, or to start a prayer journal? Often times the busyness of life squelches out time even though the desire is still there. But if you’ve gotten off course – do not despair!!! God is not a legalistic God – he loves you so.
Here’s what Elizabeth George says about discipline:
“You do it because it is what you need to do and are supposed to do and because it is the right thing to do… somehow… the duty of the discipline turns into sheer delight and we reap the blessings of a priceless, tender relationship with the Lord a thousandfold.”
This has rang true in my life. I do not always enthusiastically open God’s word – yet I always need a word from God no matter how busy I am.
Over the years I have led a few Bible studies – let me share with you the ones I have led and recommend.
These three are all Beth Moore Bible studies. I adore her! These all had a video series that accompanied the workbooks. The homework for these studies took about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. My favorite is Jesus, the One and Only – I’ve led it twice in a large group and once one-on-one with a friend. Breaking Free is AMAZING! It was a challenge to lead but I learned things I still am applying today in my life – and I led it 9 years ago! A Woman’s Heart God’s Dwelling Place is also a tie for my favorite Beth Moore study. The entire study is about the tabernacle – it’s fascinating – I’ve led it twice.
These two studies are also Beth Moore studies. To Live is Christ is the study of the life and ministry of Paul. It was my first Beth Moore study to lead 13 years ago. Those poor ladies I led in this study were quite patient with me – I was a nervous wreck! lol! A Heart Like His is the study of David’s heart – it is glorious also.
These next few studies are by Elizabeth George – she is another favorite author and Bible teacher of mine. I have read many more of her books than what is pictured here. This workbook study is titled A Woman’s Heart God’s Dwelling Place and I had a CD and DVD to go with the workbook.
The next book is by Linda Dillow titled Creative Counterpart. My Good Morning Girls group used this as a summer study/book club. In the back of the book, questions are included for discussion. The other two books are by Stormie Omartian titled The Power of a Praying Parent. The book and handbook are an excellent guide to praying for your children and really was a fun book to use for a small group study (my group wasn’t small though…it was popular at sign-ups! Don’t we all want to pray more for our children?)
When the couples arrived we would fellowship for the first half hour around food. Then we divided the men and women into different rooms and I led the women through Stormie Omartian’s The Power of a Praying Wife and my husband led the men through The Power of Praying Husband. We will never master praying for our spouses – this is a great book to do time and time again. I had led it two other times previously with groups of women.
There was a time when the group felt the desire to emphasize evangelism so we used Bill Hybel’s book, handbook and DVD titled Just Walk Across the Room. It really helped to motivate us all to share our faith.
After the Just Walk Across the Room study we thought that this book by Josh McDowell titled Evidence Demands a Verdict might help us with evangelism too. Warning – this book is not a written in a Bible study format. It is a great resource. We assigned different pages for reading and then discussed our reading each week. If you want to know better how to defend your faith – this book needs to be on your shelf! I read this book for the first time in high school and I used it heavily to defend my faith in my public school.
This next book is a parenting book. It’s by Tedd Tripp and it is titled Shepherding a Child’s Heart. It also comes with a handbook. This is a book that can be read again and again as a resource. It’s great to have on the shelf.
And last but not least – my favorite marriage book by Dr. Emerson Eggerich titled Love and Respect. It also has a handbook that we used. This book was the hardest for our group to swallow. One wife told me later that she went home, read the first chapter and threw the book in the trash! Ouch! It can be hard to swallow but it is exactly what marriages today need to hear! My husband and I think so highly of this book that we purchased 20 copies of it and handed them out to our group, another couples study in our church, plus a few couples who came through our home who needed encouragement in their marriages. This book has helped our marriage immensely.
Do you remember the story of Enoch? Genesis 5:24 says, “Enoch walked with God and then he was no more because God took him away.” Hebrews 11:5 tells us why he was taken away – “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken he was commended as one who pleased God.”
Why should we maintain our secret duties in our walk with God? Because it pleases God.