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

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

When God Answers Prayer

This past weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to go on a short mission trip.  We only had one day to spend with the kids which our team has been ministering too for several years now.  We had spent months beforehand praying for these kids and for our time there.  We were all sad that it would have to be so short, but knew that God could work even in times like these.

I learned many lessons during that trip, as I watched God working in ways so beyond my imagination.  Yes, we only had 12 hours, but we saw in that small moment of time just how much God was doing.

As I reflect upon my weekend, I am so wowed by the way that God answered each and every one of our prayers.  I am so humbled to think that God is working through us in ways we never thought possible.  I am so excited to know what God has done in the hearts of these kiddos and I look forward with child-like expectation to see what my heavenly Father will do next.

One of the things that sticks out to me from this trip as one of the (many) lessons God wanted to teach me is how He answers prayer.

I learned that sometimes He answers in a way different then we thought.

Our thoughts are so below His.  While we think and dream and plan, we must realize that God knows infinitely more than we do. And He's been around for a lot longer than we have.  Because of this, sometimes His plans to measure up to ours.  On the surface, it may seem like He didn't even answer our prayer.

But when we really take a look at what He has done, we see that He really has answered our prayer.  And when we remember Who He is and how amazing His plans have turned out in the past, we trust that He knows what is best.  Just think of all the stories in the Old Testament. I'm sure crossing the Red Sea wasn't Moses' idea of fleeing Egypt.  But it was in God's plan.  And looking back so many yeas later, we see that God knew best.

And He knows best today as well.  He may not answer our prayers in exactly the way we were hoping they would be answered, but His ways are infinitely better than ours.

Another thing I learned is that sometimes His answers seem ordinary.

When I first reflected on how well our trip went, sitting on the couch of our room at 10:30 that night, I thought it was a pretty ordinary day.  Or maybe simple is the word I am looking for.  No fire fell from heaven.  No one's life was drastically changed.  But then I started thinking about all the "little" things God had done.  And the more I thought about it, the more I realized how many things God had done!  Some of them were little, and some of them were big!  

For example, during that trip we didn't encounter a whole lot of spiritual attack from the enemy.  So at the end of the day, I thought, this was pretty easy after all!  But the fact that we didn't have to spend all our time waging war with the devil showed me that God was on our side fighting for us!  He had defeated the enemy so that we could work freely and unhindered.  What an amazing God we serve!

So a trip that seemed to be ordinary changed into extraordinary because of what God did.  From this I have learned to look for God in the little things and not to take the seemingly small things for granted. 

I have also been reminded not to just offer a little "Thank You, God" and then move on, but to really ponder what God has done.  We can take so much that the Lord has done for granted instead of giving Him the credit and glory for what He has done.

The Lord also taught me to avoid the temptation of thinking I did it all in my own strength.

Sometimes it's easy for me to fall into believing I could have done it without God--especially when His answers come in ordinary and peaceful ways--like He did with this past missions trip.

In the past, I have fallen into the trap of thinking, "Hey, I could have done that. It wasn't as hard as I thought."  We spend hours and hours in prayer and fail to trust in Him even when He promises to be with us. And then, when He is with us, we believe that we did it all on our own strength... :(  Oh, how sad!

Let us remember, dear friends, how much we cannot do it on our own strength and need Him.

Finally, when God answers prayer, remember to praise!

It's so easy for us to forget to spend set-apart, devoted time to praising Him.  I think of all the many hours that we invested in prayer for this missions trip.  And God answered each and every one of those prayers!  Would we be so unthankful as to not spend at least a fraction of amount of the time spent had in prayer in praising Him?  

We pray so hard for an answer, and then, when it comes, we seem to simply shrug it off. Let us resolve to thank our merciful Savior for the many ways He has answered our prayers. Let us acknowledge His answers for what they are--complete miracles! Undeserved grace and mercy. Bountiful blessings.  Let us praise Him!

If God answers your prayers, do not say a simple "Thank You," and move on to the next request that needs answering. Spend time in praising Him through song and prayer.  Remember how good He is and how gracious He has been to answer the cries of your heart.


I hope this all didn't sound confusing or disorganized.  These are the thoughts of my heart and I really wanted to share them with you.  I pray that you too would be, as I have been, reminded and challenged to praise the Lord when He answers your prayers and not take credit for yourself, even if it seems ordinary or is different from what you had planned.  God is so good and He does answer prayer!