Posted by: pastortomvabeach | November 16, 2011

Thought for the Week November 20, 2011

I hope everyone got through the first segment in our journey together toward Christ-likeness and that you invested some time in memorizing Psalm 119:105 and beginning to memorize the books of the Bible. I can tell you that I learned the books of the New Testament by helping out in children’s church. The leaders taught the kids the books by singing them in a simple ditty. Since I was there, I sang along and lo and behold, in a short time, I knew the N.T. I sometimes actually call that song to mind when turning to a specific book! The Old Testament was a bit more difficult but by learning the general location and types of literature, I eventually got them down. Don’t give up on this important investment in your relationship with God through His word.

Before we start our second segment, I think it would be good to begin to number these weekly installments. I would like to have a name for this adventure. I hesitate to call them lessons since I don’t want you to get in the habit of “learning” everything from these writings. I’m looking for a word that would convey our joint journey in learning, applying, and growing closer to God and each other. If anyone has an idea, let me know by email or through the blog.

Here is Journey Segment 2. Since we have now a general familiarity with the Bible as a book of books, let’s look this week at why the Bible is so important to our spiritual development. It is vital that I fully acknowledge the authority and power of the Bible so that I will be consistently motivated to read, study, and apply it to my life. Let’s look again at just a few basics about the Bible – the Word of God. In this segment most of the Bible references will not be printed out so that you can become familiar with your Bible by looking them up. Do look them up!

The first thing that we should know is that we can really only come to know God through what He tells us about Himself. He is spirit and invisible to our eyes and natural way of understanding.
Being the Creator, He is transcendent or completely above and other than that which He created. But He has chosen to reveal Himself to us both generally and specially.

In a general way, we can know that God exists and has done some pretty amazing things. Psalm 91:1-4 shows us what we can know about God just by looking at what He has made. Romans 1:20, actually says that no one can say they don’t know God is there because what is around us must have been made by someone great like Him. What we can’t know generally are matters that deal with relating to God, His personal side, redemption, etc.

To find these things we need God to spell it out and He has done that. For a period of about 1500 years, God spoke to around forty different individuals who recorded the words God gave them into what we now call the Bible. Many places in the Bible we hear words such as, “And God said,” “the Word of God came to me,” “Thus says the Lord,” etc. These claim to be direct quotes from God Himself. Paul tells us in II Timothy 3:16 that the words we have in the Bible were inspired or “breathed” by God to those who wrote them for us. In these words we find a wealth of personal information about God, Himself; about His purposes and desires for mankind; and about His plan for redemption.

The purpose of this special revelation can be summed up by John’s words in John 20:31, These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. God reveals Himself and His ways to us so that we can enter into and continue in a redemptive relationship with Him.

With this in mind let me just list a few of the truths that give the Bible extreme value in our lives. First and foremost, it is the one and only standard for knowing and believing God. Whatever we accept as true and applicable to our lives must be in full agreement with God’s Word (interpreted correctly, which we will discuss in another segment). God’s Word has authority to guide and direct us into right relationship with God. Isaiah 40:8 tells us that God’s Word will stand forever and Jesus said that even heaven and earth will pass away but not God’s Word (see if you can find this verse). We always measure what we believe and teach by the standard of God’s Word.

As we learned last week, the Word lights the way for us. Did you also know it helps us to keep ourselves clean and pure (Psalm 119:9 and John 15:3)? The Word actually has power that changes us and brings us salvation. Romans 1:16 is a marvelous verse to read, meditate upon, memorize, and apply to your life. Paul tells us that the “gospel” IS “the power of God unto salvation”. I once saw a man tremble and sweat as he read the words in his Bible. It has power!

The Word also helps us to know ourselves as we allow God to search us out with it. The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 If we will read and meditate on God’s Word allowing His Word to become a mirror for our lives, He will reveal what is going right and what needs to be changed. And that is what we are after. We want to get more than a bunch of knowledge and facts. We want our lives to be transformed so that we become more Christ-like!

So let me close this segment by encouraging you to do more than read each installment and add it to your list of “to do’s” or tickets punched or “spiritual knowledge” base. My goal here is that you will find something in this writing that you can apply to your life and grow to love God more thereby becoming more Christ-like in attitude and conduct. Maybe it will come from getting in the habit of memorizing the Word which will make God’s thoughts more available to you and keep you in better contact with Him. Maybe it will be just gaining an overall appreciation for all the Bible can do for you in terms of its power and reach in your life. The main thing is to let these studies change you.

So here’s another assignment. Continue memorizing Psalm 119:105 and learning the books of the Bible. While you are doing that, see if you can find any other references in the Bible that tell why God’s Word is valuable to us. Invest in your own growth that way. Just a thought.

Note: Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback by responding via the “comments” link.


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