HOUSTON (BP)–A plane breaks the sound barrier when it flies faster than 760 miles an hour. When that happens, there is a visible and audible demonstration of the plane going beyond what is normal.
LifeWay author and speaker Priscilla Shirer used that image to illustrate to more than 1,000 women that when Christians go beyond what is “normal,” people will see a visible and audible demonstration of going beyond a casual relationship with God.
Shirer, a Bible teacher and author from Dallas, was the speaker at Going Beyond, an event sponsored by the women’s ministry and events area of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. The event was held July 13-14 at The Met [Metropolitan Baptist Church] in Houston.
“I want you to boldly pray about what you don’t even pray about anymore, what you’ve just given up praying about –- that wayward child, that healing, that marriage,” Shirer said.
“I believe in the power of prayer,” she said. “One of the things that separates our religion from every other religion in the world is that our God is alive! He’s alive! And we can speak to Him and He will answer us.”
Shirer said, “I can’t get my mind around the fact that God’s goal is fellowship with us…. He gave us the Holy Spirit and He lives inside us. God is passionate about fellowship with you. He tells us in James 4:8 to draw near to Him and He will draw near to us.'”
Bible studies are “wonderful” she said, but they should not replace a Christian’s personal devotion.
“I am involved in studies myself, but let me tell you something, sisters,” she said. “If the enemy can just keep you doing Bible studies, but not studying the Bible, he’s got you in the palm of his hand. The enemy wants you to think those people who do all those studies have an access to God that you don’t. And that is just not true!
“If you want to hear God, then you have to go to the Bible.”
Calling the Bible the means by which Christians hear God’s voice, she said, “Anything you think you hear God say or that you think He is telling you that contradicts or doesn’t measure up to the Bible in any way is not from God.”
Shirer gave attendees a plan to use with any Bible passage that can help them hear God speak through Scripture. Following are some of her key points:
–Position yourself to hear from God. Be still and experience solitude.
–Prepare for the Holy Spirit’s illumination. Look for that word or passage that just jumps out at you.
–Pore over the passage. Look at it deliberately and intentionally. Paraphrase the major points and consider the context.
–Pull out the spiritual principles. Ask yourself what God is teaching you.
–Permit the Holy Spirit to speak. You will begin to be convicted about a passage that you never even knew applied to you.
–Plan a date. Give yourself a deadline to follow though on what God wants you to do.
On another issue, Shirer used passages from Exodus to show the women they could be freed from the areas of bondage in their lives in the same way the Israelites were freed from their bondage from Pharaoh.
First, the Israelites had to be released from the bondage of the person of Pharaoh. “We were born with a sin nature,” she said. “We don’t have to teach our children how to lie. As soon as we are born, we are enslaved. We can’t achieve freedom on our own. We are freed through Christ. If you are a believer, you have been offered freedom on a silver platter.”
Second, the Israelites had to be freed from the place where Pharaoh lived. “We have been freed from the enemy, but we keep hanging around where he lives -– in that movie theater, in that unhealthy relationship, in the occult,” she said. “We tell ourselves that it’s fun, that it’s harmless, but it will turn into torture.”
Third, the Israelites had to be freed from where Pharaoh reigns. “Is there something you must give up in order to make the move?” she asked. “Remember the image of that plane? When you break the barrier of sin, there will be a visible and audible demonstration that you have gone beyond that place in your life.”
For more information on Priscilla Shirer and future Going Beyond events, go to www.lifeway.com/priscillashirer.