One Reason I Love God’s Word

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I think one of the most beautiful things about Scripture is how it continues to speak to us in whatever season we find ourselves. We can always find valuable truths in any Bible book. But I know that God has often directed me to study exactly what I need to learn at any given moment.

I accepted Jesus at age 30, after many years of feeling lonely and lacking hope. During my first  years as a Christian, God knew I needed to learn about who He was and how much He loved me. Verses where God spoke reassurance to people from Job to Hannah soothed my wounded heart and help me let down my defenses.

Later, as I felt more secure in God’s love, I began to work through some of my old hurts. In my self-centered view of things, I cried out to God and questioned Him when I didn’t get what I wanted. The Psalms showed me it was alright to be honest with myself and Him about my feelings and thoughts. And the more I tried to follow David’s example, the more my crying ended up as praise.

With a stronger foundation under my feet, I was ready to grow up a little more in my faith. Proverbs then became a resource for me to learn about how to walk each day as a believer. Paul’s letters reminded me that I am not alone on my journey, and part of my call is to love others. That ignited a desire in me to have more of a servant’s heart.

How about you? Have you ever sensed God “sending” you to a section of Scripture, maybe even before you knew you needed it? Think of it as part of His plan and provision for you!

Meditation

bible-heart-1178881What do you think of when you hear the word “meditate?” I’ll be honest, my thoughts used to run along the lines of sitting cross-legged and chanting a mantra. That was how I heard the word used most often growing up. So it was a revelation to me to learn that meditation is mentioned in scripture.

Christian meditation differs from the eastern version, though. Probably the most important way they differ is in where our thoughts are meant to be focused while we do it. Someone following the eastern style would use a mantra (a repeated word or phrase) or a visualization, to help the mind clear away distractions. The result would be an “empty” mind, and concentration on the act of breathing itself.

In the Bible, however, we see that God has a very different method and purpose for this discipline. These scriptures give clear direction about what we are to focus on:

“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.”                                                                                                    Joshua 1:8

“Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.”                                                                                                                   Psalms 48:9

“I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.”                                                                                                Psalms 119:99

“My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.”                                                           Psalms 119:48

 

Did you catch all the things we can focus our thoughts on?

  • His Law
  • His love
  • His statutes
  • His promises

And how about these: His promises; His deeds; His wonders; His miracles: HIM! And the result? A more joyful heart and a stronger faith – much better than being empty, right?

So don’t shy away from the idea of meditation. It was used in God’s Word even before it took on it’s more popular associations with eastern religions. Set aside some time specifically to focus your mind on your Lord, and watch what happens.

Getting Nearer To God’s Word

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All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”                                               2 Timothy 3:16

The Charles Stanley devotional I read this morning was based on this verse. The gist was that God speaks to us today through His Word, and so we need to turn to it regularly. Reading scripture ought to be one of the Christian’s foundational habits, it’s true. In the Bible’s pages, we can find the comfort, insight or sometimes a not-so-subtle nudge we need.

I’d like to say that I’ve always loved digging into scripture – but that wouldn’t be honest. In fact, as a new believer opening up the Bible brought on more anxiety in me than passion. Reading verses, especially in the Old Testament was like trying to decipher some sort of foreign language. And Paul’s letters seemed so dense and wordy – by the time I got to the end of one of his sentences I’d forgotten how it started.

My husband thought it might be helpful to read together, which sounded like a great idea. That lasted about a week. The final straw was having to sound out the genealogy in Numbers 1. As I slowly sounded out “Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai”, my voice took on such an irritated edge that my husband suggested we take a break. We never picked back up, and I have to say it was kind of a relief.

I felt a lot of guilt and condemnation for my lack of zeal about the Bible, and wondered why I had such a problem. Was it my lack of church experience growing up? Or was it my late-in-life conversion at age 30? I wanted to ask advice, but was too embarrassed. Having been a believer for about 20 years now, I’ve come to understand that my issue with God’s Word early on was nothing to be ashamed of. It was simply an indication of how young I was in my faith.

Another aspect to scripture being “God-breathed” is that we need God’s Holy Spirit to understand it. He has filled His Word with treasures, and we need His help to discover them. Yes, learning my way around the Bible was important, as was starting to memorize certain key passages. But it was in asking for His guidance as I read that verses really started coming to life and having deeper meaning.

Do you feel intimidated or overwhelmed by God’s Word? Don’t despair – God intended for you to be blessed by it. As you open your Bible, lift up a quick prayer for His leading. He’ll be delighted to start opening your eyes, mind and heart to the richness that lies in the Book’s pages. This holy habit will begin to ignite passion instead of angst.