Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Ministry of Beholding His Face

So, I realize that it has been a really long while since I have shared anything on this ministry.  And I'm not sure what God has planned in the future for The Indwelling Word Ministries; I'll have to pray about that. But God placed a message on my heart today that I thought I should share with you.

The Lord has been teaching me much lately about simply studying Him.  Remembering Who He is and what He has done for us.  I know I've talked about this before, but it is so easy (for me!) to forget to look full into His wonderful face.

I'm sure there are many passages I could share, but the one God laid on my heart this morning is Isaiah 40:9-11.

~~Isaiah 40:9-11~~
"O Zion, You who bring good tidings, 
Get up into the high mountain; 
O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings, 
Lift up your voice with strength, 
Lift it up, be not afraid; 
Say to the cities of Judah, 
"Behold your God!" 
Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, 
And His arm shall rule for Him; 
Behold, His reward is with Him, 
And His work before Him. 
He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
 He will gather the lambs with His arm, 
And carry them in His bosom, 
And gently lead those who are with young."

After these three verses, Isaiah goes on to talk about how there is absolutely nothing that can compare to our Lord.  But look at that command in verse nine:  "Tell everyone you know, shout from the rooftops, lift up your voice with strength.  And say: Behold. Behold your God."

Wow.  What is the command we receive here?  We are instructed to behold our God.  To muse on the works of His hands. To meditate on what He has done for us.  To think about Who He is.

There have been seasons in my life, where I honestly haven't focused my heart upon His character and goodness.  And those were times where I was oft distracted by the things of the world, oft discouraged by my own imperfections.  But these past few days, God has been calling me back to Himself.  Calling my just to walk hand-in-hand with Him and allow Him to turn my eyes back onto things that are eternal. And I can testify from personal experience that beholding His face is the most amazing thing ever!  Last night, I was so overwhelmed with His grace in the face of my own weakness and unfaithfulness, that I was simply overflowing with praise!  I understood through my own experience what the psalmist said when he wrote, "My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King, my tongue is the pen of a ready writer" (Psalm 45:1).  I couldn't contain the joy inside and couldn't help but share God's goodness with some friends. =)

That is how my perspective changed by beholding my Lord.  And honestly, it was one of the most amazing things I've done.  It continues to be, as I continue to look at Him.

I suppose I can't make you begin to behold His face once you hit "exit" after reading this post. But I can share my own experiences and the Word of God with you. I'm not going to list off 101 benefits of meditating on Him.  Nor am I going to list off all the Scripture passages that talk about how we should do it.  I only ask that you might come away from the things of this world that are so empty and will never satisfy, and allow your gaze to be fixed upon the King of kings. There is nothing more amazing.  Nothing.

If you wonder where to start, or how even to begin beholding His face, I suggest two things for you:
  1. Read the Scriptures.  You can start with Isaiah 40, which says so much about Who God is and how absolutely amazing and incomparable He is.  God's Word reveals to us Who He is.  Be faithful, my dear friend, to read it and muse over it.  This Word literally has the power to change your life, as you gaze upon the King (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
  2. Keep a thanksgiving journal.  I've been writing down the things that I'm thankful for and it's really helped me to look around and see God's presence in my life and how good He has been. It's forced me to watch for His answers to my prayers and I've witnessed Him at work.  And watching Him in my own life has definitely put a song of praise in my heart.
And with those thoughts, I leave you.  My friends, God is so good.  <3 I'm overwhelmed at His mercy and His grace.  Even that He has brought me to this place in my spiritual walk where I realize that nothing is more important than Him.  Without His help, I would have never reached this place, but would have continued to wallow in misery and selfishness.  God is ever so good to His children!

"Praise the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name." ~Psalm 30:4

Monday, June 13, 2016

Praying in Jesus' Name

I've been thinking today about what it means to pray in Jesus' name.  John MacArthur offers a great commentary on this topic, speaking about John 14:14 which says, "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."  I pray that you may be encouraged to pray in Jesus' name, understanding in full what that means.

Jesus’ disciples had left everything and were completely without resources. Without their Master, they would be all alone in a hostile world. Yet, He assured them, they did not need to worry about any of their needs. The gap between Him and them would be closed instantly whenever they prayed. Even though He would be absent, they would have access to all His supplies.

That is not carte blanche for every whim of the flesh. There’s a qualifying statement repeated twice. He doesn’t say, “I’ll give you absolutely anything you ask for,” but rather, “I’ll do what you ask in My name.” That does not mean we can simply tack the words, “in-Jesus’-name-amen” on the end of our prayers and expect the answers we want every time. Neither is it a special formula or abracadabra that will magically guarantee the granting of our every wish.

The name of Jesus stands for all that He is. Throughout Scripture, God’s names are the same as His attributes. When Isaiah prophesied that Messiah would be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), he was not listing actual names, but rather giving an overview of Messiah’s character. “I am who I am,” the name revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14, is as much an affirmation of God’s eternal nature as it is a name by which He is to be called.

Therefore, praying in the name of Jesus is more than merely mentioning His name at the end of our prayers. If we are truly praying in Jesus’ name, we will pray only for that which is consistent with His perfect character, and for that which will bring glory to Him. It implies an acknowledgement of all that He has done and a submission to His will.

What praying in Jesus’ name really means is that we should pray as if our Lord Himself were doing the asking. We approach the throne of the Father in full identification with the Son, seeking only what He would seek. When we pray with that perspective, we begin to pray for the things that really matter, and we eliminate selfish requests

Friday, June 3, 2016

How to Look to Jesus --Part 3

As you know, over these past few weeks we've really been examining different ways we can fix our gaze upon the Person of Jesus Christ.  For me, these things can be so easy to allow to slip to the side.  But I know when I take the time to very purposefully place my eyes upon Jesus, the results are far greater than I have time to tell here.  I pray that the Spirit may move in your heart, drawing you to fix your gaze upon Him.

These suggestions are small ones, not as significant as the ones we have talked about already.  Nevertheless, I thought I would give them to you in the hopes that, in some small way, they might encourage you (and me while I am writing them!).

4. Journal

Although it's so easy to allow this to fall to the side (I speak from personal experience), recording God's faithfulness--in the little things and the big things--has been so instrumental in my walk with the Lord.  It helps me to be more aware throughout the day of what God is doing and saying so that I can write it down.  And whenever I am feeling discouraged or downtrodden, I can look back at those journals, the records of God's faithfulness, love, and mercy, and be encouraged.  There have been countless times when paging through those entries has lifted my spirits and my eyes to the One who loves me with an everlasting love.

5. Talk about Him with Others

This can be so beneficial!  When you gather with fellow believers (and even sharing the gospel with those who do not know the Lord), you will find that turning the conversation to the things of the Lord is so helpful to turning your gaze back to Him.  Even when the conversation is over I find myself reflecting on the things we have talked about and, in turn, praising the Lord.  Just try it!

This is all I have time for today.  Be encouraged my friend!  Consider your Savior, for He has bought you with an everlasting love and drawn you with His mercy.  This Gentle Savior is more amazing than anything this world has ever known!  Let us fix our eyes on HIM.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How to Look to Jesus --Part 2

As we continue studying what it means to look to Jesus, I want to give you one thought to ponder as you go about your day.  We'll add it to the list of ways to remember Him that we began last Wednesday.  We've already looked at reading God's Word and meditating on the Scriptures, now let us examine a third way we can refocus the eyes of our heart upon the risen Savior.

3. Praise and Worship

This is so important!  The Psalmist speaks often of praising the Lord, and it was clear the effect it had upon his life.  His thoughts were continually turned upon the King of kings.

Praising God is something that we should do every moment of every day! We can worship Him literally anywhere.  Doing the dishes, taking a shower, driving to work each day.  It doesn't take much to praise Him.  Singing songs is a wonderful way to bring glory to Him through praise, but it isn't necessary.  Take time to adore Him with verses of Scripture you have memorized, or just thoughts that come to your mind concerning His character and goodness.

Direct your admiration towards HIM, through times of worship and praise.

I have found it especially wonderful (and richly rewarding) to set-apart a time in my day to praising God.  A time where I leave the noise of the world behind, get out some worship music or open my Bible to the Psalms.  In those moments I allow my heart to give way to deep and heartfelt praise.  I encourage you to do this along with me.  Let every breath praise the Lord!

This is not only something we should prioritize in private, but also in public.  Ephesians 5:19 reminds us, "Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart."  Just imagine with me for a moment what would happen if we actually followed this verse.  What if we really obeyed this Scripture?

Oh, let everything that has breath praise the LORD!

Psalm 117:1-2:
"Praise the Lord, all nations! 
Extol him, all peoples! 
For great is his steadfast love toward us, 
and the faithfulness of the Lord 
endures forever. 
Praise the Lord!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How to Look to Jesus

You may remember last Wednesday, when we looked at Peter's adventure on the water, where he looked straight at Jesus and had faith.  But when he took his eyes off of his Savior and gazed around him at the wind and the waves, his faith faltered.  I've been thinking a lot lately about just how important looking to Jesus really is.  But today, instead of diving into all the reasons why we should look to Jesus, I want us to think about some practical ways we *can* look to Jesus.

You see, saying "Remember Him" or "Turn your eyes upon Jesus" can sound good in theory, but I've found they can be rather hard to accomplish in practice.  So just what does these phrases mean? And how can we, on a practical, everyday basis, live with our eyes fixed upon the King of kings.

I made a little list in my journal, and would like to share some of those things here with you today.

1. Read the Scriptures  

Gloria K. made a good point in a comment she left on last weeks' article.  She said, "I'm convinced the only way to keep our eyes on Jesus is to constantly immerse ourselves in His Word."  This is so true.  I have found in my own life that when I make the effort to spend time at His feet in the Word each morning, my thoughts are more directed upon Him throughout the day.  But when I sleep in late, or get up and do other things, my day is more likely to be distracted and not centered upon Christ.

Another thing I have found to be helpful is to read the Scriptures throughout the day.  Have verses pasted around your house, on your computer/phone, in your school books--wherever you will see them often.  Even just pausing for 15 minutes during your lunch break to read the Scriptures can help your mind refocus on Him.  Imagine with me for a moment what would happen if we took every spare moment of our free time and spent it in the pursuit of God's Word--whether through reading it, or through meditating on it.  Wouldn't the results be amazing?!  Maybe, just maybe, you should try it.  =)

Now, it's one thing to read God's Words, and it is another thing to study the Scriptures.  When you spend focused time (at any point during the day) to study what God's Word has to say, making notes or looking up other verses to support it, etc. you will find the message sticking in your head in a much greater way.

2. Meditate on Verses from Scripture

I have found this to be one of the most effective ways to fix my thoughts upon the Lord.  When we meditate on verses of a nature that pertains to His character or what He has done for us, our thoughts are purposefully placed upon Him.  Let me tell you all something, this turning our eyes upon Jesus thing, it doesn't happen subconsciously.  It takes purposeful, planned out effort if you want to set your mind on things above.  It takes hard work, but in the end it is more than worth it. (P.S. I have found though that the more you purposefully look to Jesus, the more naturally it becomes. After a while you will find yourself inherently focusing on Him.

So meditating on specific verses of Scripture that talk about Who He is is a really purposeful way to fix the eyes of your heart upon Him.

Not only is it important to meditate on a particular verse or passage, it is also a good idea to look at the broader scope of things and remember the message of the gospel.  Reply what happened on the cross in your mind--while you're on a car ride, doing the dishes, or falling asleep--redeem the time when your mind is otherwise unoccupied to remember the cross and what Jesus did for you there.
Sadly, that's all we have time for today, but I encourage you to keep thinking about the practical ways we can fix our eyes upon Him. You're welcome to share with me in the comments or contact page; I would love to hear! I have more thoughts on this subject that I hope to share with you sometime soon!  Until then, may your eyes be ever fixed upon the face of your King.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Fix your Gaze Upon Jesus

Matthew 14:22-33:

"22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.

25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.

27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”


I've been thinking about this story lately.  Peter saw his Lord coming and immediately was filled with great faith.  He stepped out on the water.  Notice at this point where his eyes are looking.  Toward Jesus.  But then what happened?

He took his eyes off of Jesus.

Oh my, the winds are great.  Oh, and the waves!  And as he began to look around him, his faith and his footsteps faltered.  He began to look around him at the things of this world, and immediately he lost his faith.  He lost his hope and sense of security.  Suddenly the wind and the waves seemed greater and more powerful than anything else.

How often are we like Peter?

We see God and we have great faith.  Our gaze is fixed steadily upon Him and we believe anything is possible.  But then (typically in our generation, this happens slowly and unconsciously) our gaze turns downward.  Look at those waves.  The wind blows so fiercely!  Our problems seem so big, and for some strange reason, our God seems so small.

We have lost our faith.  Why?  Because we turned our eyes off of Jesus.

My friends, how easy it is to allow our gaze to falter off of the King of kinds. The natural inclination of our flesh is to look at the things of this world.  But we must reject this inclination.  We must fix our eyes upon Jesus.

This is easy to think about conceptually, but what about practically?  How can we turn our eyes upon Jesus each and every day of our lives?

I've been thinking about this question a lot over the past few days, but I would like to give you a chance to think.  How do we fix our gaze upon Jesus?  You are welcome to share your thoughts below in the comments section or share privately through the "Contact" page.  I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

God's Word is our Great Reward --Part 2

Last Wednesday we began to examine the second part of Psalm 19:11.  This is the last verse in the study we have been doing on Psalm 19:7-11.  Let's review the line: 

“And in keeping them [God's commands] there is great reward.”

If you remember, we discussed the Hebrew word for keep (shamar). We also looked at the great reward that is awaiting us in heaven.

On top of all that though, we will also be rewarded here in this earth, although the measure is very small in comparison to the glory awaiting us.  Still, it is comforting to remember that our sacrifice for obedience does not go unnoticed and unblessed in this world.  James 1:25 grants us a small picture of what this means: 

"But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does."

Joshua 1:8 also reminds us that if we will be careful to observe and do all the things written in the Scriptures, we will be prosperous and successful wherever we go.

I like what Thomas Brooks said,

The joy, the rest, the refreshing, the comforts, the contents, the smiles, the incomes that saints now enjoy, in the ways of God, are so precious and glorious in their eyes, that they would not exchange them for ten thousand worlds. 
Oh! if the vails, [Gratuities, presents] be thus sweet and glorious before pay-day comes, what will be that glory that Christ will crown his saints with for cleaving to his service in the face of all difficulties, when he shall say to his Father, "Lo, here am I, and the children which thou hast given me." Isaiah 8:18. If there be so much to be had in the wilderness, what then shall be had in paradise!

My friends, we cannot fully realize the benefits of keeping God's Words until we actually go out and do it.

The Motive

But honestly, although this is our reward, it is not our motive.  We keep God's commands 1) because He, the almighty, holy, and just God, commanded us, but also 2) because we love Him.  Jesus Himself established this as the way we can demonstrate our love for Him and our thankfulness for what He has done on the cross.  He said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15)

A little later in that chapter He says:

"Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” ~John 14:21

This is how we demonstrate how much we love God, by obeying His commands.  It's not merely forced upon us or something we "have" to do, keeping God's commands (Psalm 19:11) is something we do out of love.

2 John 6 says,

"This is love, [this is the way that we demonstrate our love for God] that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it."

The Keeping

It all comes back to obeying the commands.  Yes, we have a great reward awaiting us, and no that is not our purpose (love is), but whatever may be, we must keep these commands.  We must treasure them in our heart, guarding them in our minds, and obeying them with our actions.  My friends, God's Word is an ocean rich and deep with treasures.  Both within it's pages, and as rewards for obeying them.  But we must open the book.  We must apply ourselves diligently to it. And we must submit ourselves in obedience to it's commands.  Let us demonstrate our love for He Who gave His all for us by obeying His commands. We'll leave the reward in His hands, knowing however, that it will come, just as Psalm 19:1 has promised.

I leave you with this quote by Charles Spurgeon: 

"Then shall we know the value of the Scriptures when we swim in that sea of unutterable delight to which their streams will bear us, if we commit ourselves to them."

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

God's Word is Our Great Reward --Part 1

“And in keeping them [God's commands] there is great reward.”

Today we come to the line of the Scripture we have been studying for these past few weeks: Psalm 19:7-11.   I have so enjoyed studying God's Word with you and really diving deeply into our own heart responses to God's Word.  But let us dive into this last line, about the great rewards of following God's Words.

Before we look at what scholars call the "interpretation" and "application," let's take a look at observation--specifically, Hebrew words.

Hebrew Word for Keep

The word for "keeping" is the word "shamar."  I know that doesn't really mean anything to you, but as a Hebrew student myself, it is kind of cool.  :)  I'll even show you how it's spelled in Hebrew: שָׁמַר Pretty cool, hugh?  Anyway, the word shamar means "to keep, guard, observe, give heed."  It's the way you keep something in your mind (Genesis 37:11), or the way you keep a covenant (Genesis 17:9).  It also carries the idea of guarding (Joshua 10:18) and is translated that way in other passages.

This is how we are to treat God's Words.  We are called to keep them in our minds and to guard them from escaping our hearts.  More than that though, we are to observe them and give heed to what they say.  We are to obey God's Words.

The Great Reward

I'll be the first to admit that following in Christ's footsteps isn't always easy.  In fact, Jesus promised we would have trouble (John 16:33).  Although sometimes it may seem that we are in the loss, in the end, we will gain the greatest reward as we keep God's commands. We will one day be blessed beyond imagination.  Spurgeon says it well: 

“Oh the glory yet to be revealed! It is enough to make a man faint for joy at the prospect of it. Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Then shall we know the value of the Scriptures when we swim in that sea of unutterable delight to which their streams will bear us, if we commit ourselves to them.”
What wonderful blessings and rewards we have waiting for us in heaven!  We can not even imagine what great things God has in store for us there (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Unfortunately this is all the time we have for today.  Come back again on Friday to hear more about the rewards we have for obeying God's Word, but even more than that, our motive.  I'll see you then!

Monday, May 2, 2016

God's Word is Our Warning

“Moreover by them Your servant is warned...”

Let me provide you a little bit of context to the line of Scripture above so you can better enjoy its beauty and learn from the depth of its meaning:
"More to be desired are they [God's words, the Scriptures] than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward."
~Psalm 19:10-11
There is such knowledge found in the word of God. Through the Scriptures, we are warned of our depravity, our danger, our duty, and our remedy. The Bible is our mentor and our counselor. It is our guide and our helper. It sheds a light on the dangers of our path and shows us the right way to go. It warns us of that which might hurt us (although sometimes it seems pleasant when we first behold it) and provides something so much better for us. He is our Guard and our Gentle Shepherd, leading us in the way of everlasting.

I liked this commentary.  It was a good visible representation of the Bible's role in warning its readers:

A certain Jew had formed a design to poison Luther, but was disappointed by a faithful friend, who sent Luther a portrait of the man, with a warning against him. By this, Luther knew the murderer and escaped his hands. Thus the word of God, O Christian, shows thee the face of those lusts which Satan employs to destroy thy comforts and poison thy soul. —G. S. Bowes, B.A., in "Illustrative Gatherings for Preachers and Teachers."
Do we value and hold dear the warnings of the Scriptures as we ought? Our gentle Shepherd is leading the way to green pastures; do we hear His voice?  Do we follow His direction? Do we heed His warnings?

As you choose how you are going to spend your free time today, remember Psalm 19:11.  Will you choose to sit at the feet of your Guide and soak up His words of warning?

When you approach the Scriptures each day, remember that these words hold counsel and training.  They will teach you the way of life.

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." ~2 Timothy 3:16-17

Friday, April 29, 2016

A.W. Tozer Quote on the Bible

"Read it much, read it often, brood over it, think over it, meditate over it—meditate on the Word of God day and night. 

When you are awake at night, think of a helpful verse. 

When you get up in the morning, no matter how you feel, think of a verse and make the Word of God the important element in your day. 

The Holy Ghost wrote the Word, and if you make much of the Word, He will make much of you. It is through the Word that He reveals Himself. Between those covers is a living Book. God wrote it and it is still vital and effective and alive. God is in this Book, the Holy Ghost is in this Book, and if you want to find Him, go into this Book." ~A.W. Tozer

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Delighting in God's Word

Yesterday, we were touched by the truth that God's Word is sweeter than honey (Psalm 19:10).  And we were challenged to examine our own hearts.  Do we really treat God's Word as the most satisfying treasure on earth?

If we honestly examine our heart and find the answer to that question is "no" yet we want it to be, how do we learn to treasure God's Word?  How can we get to the point where we value God's Word and love to spend time in its pages.

Before we look at two specific ways we can learn to treasure God's Word more than our necessary food (Job 23:12), we must recognize and believe one truth:  even though we may not feel in our hearts that God's Word is sweeter than honey, we must know that it is.  God's Word is truth, whether our feelings align with it or not.  

1. Spend More Time Reading God's Word

If we want to see the rewarding God's Word is, we must spend time each day pouring over its pages.

Someone once said, "The longer you read the Bible, the more you will like it; it will grow sweeter and sweeter; and the more you get into the spirit of it, the more you will get into the spirit of Christ."

As we spend time studying and memorizing God’s Word, we will grow to love it more. I love using this analogy:  It has been said that we crave what we consume. If you are always eating junk food, the healthy things that are actually good for your body may seem flavorless. On the other hand, as you wean yourself of the sugarcoated food, the nourishing things like salad taste better and better. It is the same with His Word. The more you consume it by reading, studying, and memorizing, the more you will begin to see its value and long for more and more.

George Whitefield bears witness through his own personal testimony: 
"I began to read the Holy Scriptures upon my knees, laying aside all other books, and praying over, if possible, every line and word. This proved meat indeed and drink indeed to my soul. I daily received fresh life, light and power from above.”

Spend as much time as possible in God's Word.  I will warn you, this heart transformation won't take place at once.  But as you spend day after day after day pouring over the words of our precious Lord Jesus, you will find in them a sweetness you never knew possible.

2. Meditate on God's Word

I like the way Thomas Brooks has said it: 

“Remember that it is not hasty reading, but serious meditation on holy and heavenly truths, that makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the mere touching of the flower by the bee that gathers honey, but her abiding for a time on the flower that draws out the sweet. It is not he that reads most, but he that meditates most, that will prove to be the choicest, sweetest, wisest, and strongest Christian.”

If we are merely rushing through our reading, we will not realize the full sweetness of the flower.

I encourage you friends, spend time in God's Word--reading, studying, and meditating.  You will find there-in treasures beyond comparison and sweetnesses beyond description.  For in the words of God you will find Christ.

"You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." 
~Psalm 16:11

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

God's Word is Sweeter Than Honey

“Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”

The line before this one provides some meaningful context. The entire verse (Psalm 19:10), says, "More to be desired are they than gold, sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb."

Not only are God's Words more valuable than anything else on earth, they are also more rewarding, more pleasant.

As we continue our study of Psalms 19:7-11, consider the place God's Word holds in your life. Do you treasure it as more sweet than honey and the honeycomb?

Honey was considered the sweetest of all things and a luxurious delicacy in Bible times. God’s Word is like this; it is absolutely delightful, more pleasant than anything this world can imagine. It satisfies our cravings for good things as nothing else can. The Treasury of David says this, 

"The pleasures arising from a right understanding of the divine testimonies are of the most delightful order; earthly enjoyments are utterly contemptible, if compared with them. The sweetest joys, yea, the sweetest of the sweetest falls to his portion who has God's truth to be his heritage."

My friend, have you experienced the joy of God's Word in this same way? When you open the Scriptures, do you find your deepest longings satisfied?  Could you honestly say that God's Word is more valuable to you personally than the sweetest edibles? 

Jeremiah 15:16 says,
"Your words were found, and I ate them,And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart."

Do you love God's Words as the prophet Jeremiah does?  My friend, allow these questions to challenge you and penetrate your heart.

Tomorrow we will examine how God's Word can become sweet as honey to you, but for now...take some time to look into your own heart.  Ask yourself honestly, are the Scriptures full of joy to me?  Do I find in them delicacies beyond all comprehension?

"You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." 

~Psalm 16:11

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

God's Word is More Costly than Gold

“More to be desired are they [God's words] than gold, Yea, than much fine gold;

God's words as spoken to us through the Bible are more precious than the finest treasures in the world. Men spend years laboring after earthly treasures, yet there is a reward so much greater. Each and every verse found in the Scriptures. Because of this, it is to be sought after and desired with greater eagerness and vitality.

Men risk their lives, forsake pleasures, and renounce ease for the desire to attain gold. Should we not have even half the love that these men have for their earthly treasures? In fact, we should have more! For our treasures are a thousand times better than what they pine after. God’s Words are of inestimable worth.

Imagine what it would be like if we really treasured God's Words more than moneys or riches, or anything else in this world!  What if we actually sought after it more than any other earthly (and perishing, may I remind you) treasure?  Think about this.

Psalm 119:14 “I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches.”

Psalm 119:92 "The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of coins of gold and silver."

Psalm 119:127  "Therefore I love Your commandments More than gold, yes, than fine gold!"

Let us likewise treasure God's words more precious than gold, because they truly are.  It's not a matter of simply believing something to be true in our own heart, but aligning our hearts with the truth. Because the truth is, God's Word is more precious than gold.  The question we must as ourselves is, do we really believe this to be true?  And more than that, do we live each and every moment of our lives treasuring God's words above everything else?

Monday, April 18, 2016

God's Words are True and Rightoues

“The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

Today we examine this wonderful phrase, as we study through Psalm 19:7-11, a beautiful passage which . The truth and righteousness of God's Word are also compared together in other verses in the Psalms:

Psalm 119:142: "Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth."

"The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever." ~Psalm 119:160

God's Word is True

The Scriptures are true, and they are right.  Jesus, the Word of life, is also noted as being true and righteous: “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He [referring to Himself] who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him” (John 7:18).  His words are just.  His decisions are truth in the truest sense.  Their justice and truth is unimpeachable.  

Because of this, anything that man says contradictory to God’s Word is automatically a lie.  If science seems to contradict the Scriptures, it is science who is wrong the whole time.  We cannot doubt this fact.  God’s Word is right and it is true--no matter what.

“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” ~John 17:17

God's Word is Righteous

The Scriptures are just and completely righteous.  All God's Words, and specifically His commands, are righteous and proper.  We do not need to question them, because we can know that whatever God has asked us to do through His Word is completely righteous and the right thing to do in every way.

"Righteous are You, O Lord, And upright are Your judgments. Your testimonies, which You have commanded, Are righteous and very faithful." ~Psalm 119:137-138

So Let Us Praise!

Especially having grown up in a Christian home, it is so easy for me to forget the wonder of having a love letter from the King of kings that is true in the fullest sense of the word and altogether righteous.  Let us not take this for granted, my friends, but rather choose to praise God for His righteous judgement.  The psalmist even arose in the night to praise the righteousness of God's Word! Should not we also take time each day to praise the Lord for this wonderful gift?

"At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You, Because of Your righteous judgments" (Psalm 119:62).

"Seven times a day I praise You, Because of Your righteous judgments" (Psalm 119:164).

Friday, April 15, 2016

God's Word is Clean and Eternal

“The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;”

As we continue in our study of the beauty and characteristics of God's Word, as explained in Psalm 19:7-11, we reach this line.  Open you heart to hear what the Spirit is saying to you today.

God's Word is Clean

The Treasury of David puts it best: “The doctrine of truth is here described by its spiritual effect, viz., inward piety, or the fear of the Lord; this is clean in itself, and cleanses out the love of sin, sanctifying the heart in which it reigns. Mr. Godly-fear is never satisfied till every street, lane, and alley, yea, and every house and every corner of the town of Mansoul is clean rid of the Diablolonians who lurk therein.”

When a righteous and holy fear dwells in our spirits as we read the God’s law and statutes, we are purified and cleansed of the darkness of sin. The Word of God is intended to produce a holy reverence for the Most High. As our eyes are opened to Who He really is, we begin to tremble in His awesome presence. And that fear is completely and perfectly clean. It is right.

Psalm 119:9 "How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word."

God's Word is Eternal

God has said through the prophet Isaiah, “All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:7, 8).

God’s words are constant and unchangeable. Though heaven and earth will pass away, none of God’s words will fall (Matthew 24:35). Filth brings decay, but cleanness allows something to last a long time. With God’s Word, that time is forever. God’s Word never changes, His will never moves. 

 It is constant, enduring. His words don’t “expire,” they are just as true when written as they are now. They shall stand, remain, and endure forever.

David says, “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (Psalm 119:160).

Listen to these quotes:
"Cities fall, empires come to nothing, kingdoms fade away as smoke...But that this book no tyrant should have been able to consume, no tradition to choke, no heretic maliciously to corrupt; that it should stand unto this day, amid the wreck of all that was human, without the alteration of one sentence so as to change the doctrine taught therein--surely there is a very singular Providence, claiming our attention in a most remarkable manner." ~John Jewell, English Bishop and Puritan Leader

"The Bible--banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of intellectuals have attempted to discredit it; dictators of every age have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry it into battle believing it more powerful than their weapons. Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed ruthless killers into gentle saints."  ~Charles W. Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship

 My friends, God's Word is clean and it is eternal.  No matter how many people try to defile it or destroy it, they will be unable to. Because these are God's words.  You can trust them, read them, and study them, because anything that can be this amazing is worth our pursuit.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Thy Word Is Like A Garden, Lord

Thy Word is like a garden, Lord, with flowers bright and fair;
And every one who seeks may pluck a lovely cluster there.
Thy Word is like a deep, deep mine; and jewels rich and rare
Are hidden in its mighty depths for every searcher there.

Thy Word is like a starry host: a thousand rays of light
Are seen to guide the traveler and make his pathway bright.
Thy Word is like an armory, where soldiers may repair;
And find, for life’s long battle day, all needful weapons there.

O may I love Thy precious Word, may I explore the mine,
May I its fragrant flowers glean, may light upon me shine!
O may I find my armor there! Thy Word my trusty sword,
I’ll learn to fight with every foe the battle of the Lord.

~Edwin Hodder

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

God's Word is Pure and Purifying

“The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;”

As we continue in our study of Psalm 19:7-11, we come to this phrase.  Let us examine God's Word with open hearts and allow this words to change our attitude about the beautiful Scriptures.

God's Word is Pure

No error defiles God’s Word, no sin pollutes it. It is clear, clean, sincere, as defined in the Hebrew. It is not mixed with any blackness, any untruth, any corruption. 

In our world, “pure” oftentimes isn’t completely 100% pure. But the Scriptures are. They are a thousand times more pure than anything we can imagine on this earth. It is free of any mixture of men’s inventions or the dross of corrupt knowledge (Charles Spurgeon). It is clear of all chaff and impurity. In all ways, it is perfectly pure. Listen to what David says about God's Word:
“The words of the Lord are pure words,Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,Purified seven times.” ~Psalm 12:6

The apostle Peter offers application: "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby" (1 Peter 2:2).  Let us desire this 101% pure milk, for by it we will grow.  It is not defiled with anything that would hurt us, but will only teach and train us, purifying us even as it is pure.

God's Word is Purifying

God’s Words are the enlightening of our eyes. Oftentimes, we face a problem and we just can’t make sense of it. Something comes up and we don’t know what to think of it. But because God’s Word is completely pure itself, it can remove the layer over our own eyes.

God’s Word purifies our own thoughts, removing all the darkness and sin within our minds so that we might clearly see with His perspective. It enlightens us to our own sin and depravity, which we ourselves are often blind to. 

 God’s Word reveals even to us as believers sins we have not noticed, and outlines a way that we might repent and turn from our sins. It shares with us a message of hope, opening our eyes to the love of our Lord. Indeed, the Scriptures enlighten our eyes in so many ways.

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." ~Psalm 119:105

Amen!  Let us take time to study this pure Word, because, even as it is pure, so it will purify our heart, our emotions, our minds, and our actions.  It will remove the sin, the dirt, and the grim.  It will cleanse us from the defiling worldviews of the culture.  Indeed, God's Word enlightens our eyes, giving us wisdom from above to know how God would have us to act and believe.  Let us devote ourselves to the Scriptures, my friends!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

God's Word is Right and Brings Rejoicing

“The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;”

As we continue in our study of Psalm 19:7-11, we come to a line that makes me smile just reading it.  Let us meditate together on the riches and wonder of God's Word.

God's Word is Right

His precepts and statutes are founded in righteousness. It is just the right thing needed to free us sinners from the shackles of sin that have bound our hands and feet (John 8:32). A physician gives the right medicine and a counselor the right advice, so is the Word of God the “right” in everything. 

 The Hebrew word here means “straight, upright, correct, right; straightforward, just, upright, fitting, proper.” The Word of God fits this definition by every scale of measurement. It is righteous, upright, and just.  It is straightforward.  It makes no mistakes or errors of information or accuracy.  In all issues, debates, or controversies, God's Word is right.

We can stand on the sure, rock-solid foundation of God's Word.  We can trust in it's accuracy and it's ability to give us the right wisdom and counsel for every circumstance.

God's Word Brings Rejoicing

God’s Words are the rejoicing of our heart. Notice the progression thus far. First, we are converted, then taught, and now we are made to rejoice. What a wonderful process! As we read, study, and learn from the Word of God, we come to love it and find our soul’s greatest joy in it. 

Indeed, this book has power to bring joy like no other! We may try to find happiness and satisfaction in other things, but only the Scriptures can really satisfy, only they can make our hearts joyful, truly joyful, always joyful.

Jeremiah 15:16 says, "Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts." 

Is God's Word the joy and delight of your heart?  Jeremiah had to seek out God's Word and seek His face.  Then he ate them--which is a physical phrase that represents the discipline of meditation.  As we chew on God's Words and really think about what they mean, they become to us the delight of our heart.  Let us meditate on God's Word so that we might find in it that joy inexpressible.

Here's another verse of David's that I like: "I rejoice at Your word As one who finds great treasure" (Psalm 119:162).  We rejoice when we read, study, and meditate on God's Word because we have found a treasure of limitless value. God's Word is precious and valuable.  It is a treasure-house of wisdom and knowledge.  It gives peace.  And most importantly, it brings life.  Such words are truly a treasure!


So today, because God's Word is right and true; because God's Word leads our heart to rejoicing, let us devote our time to its pursuit.  Let us spend time in the presence of the Lord pouring over the Scripture because we know His words are right.  And let us learn, as the prophet Jeremiah, to rejoice in the Scriptures, because they are the joy and delight of our heart.

"You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
~Psalm 16:11