Each week we, the believers who attend Crossroads Church in Concord, CA, have a selection from God’s Word to meditate upon. We have been going through the book of Deuteronomy for quite some time now as it is a long book, and we only take a few verses at at time. I was thunderstruck by the passage this week.
Deuteronomy 31:9-13 “9 So Moses wrote this entire body of instruction in a book and gave it to the priests, who carried the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, and to the elders of Israel. 10 Then Moses gave them this command: “At the end of every seventh year, the Year of Release, during the Festival of Shelters, 11 you must read this Book of Instruction to all the people of Israel when they assemble before the Lord your God at the place he chooses. 12 Call them all together—men, women, children, and the foreigners living in your towns—so they may hear this Book of Instruction and learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully obey all the terms of these instructions. 13 Do this so that your children who have not known these instructions will hear them and will learn to fear the Lord your God. Do this as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.”
How many of us read God’s Word, all of it at least every 7 years? Do we share it with our families? God has a specific purpose for us reading His Word faithfully- to teach us about Himself and to pass on our love for God to the next generation. In my opinion, that is something we, all believers, have not done faithfully and now our world is lacking in the knowledge of who God is and why we should trust in Him alone.
Let us pray for our nation and ourselves that we will be found faithful in reading and studying His Word and telling those around us about the truths contained therein. To thrive in this sin-filled world, we must look to Jesus and His Word to walk in victory and light.
P.S. Need a Bible Study? send me a note and I’ll tell you of opportunities to study with many online groups. We no longer need to live in the same city or country!
In Ephesians 4:14-16 Paul expands on the truth from yesterday, we can trust God’s Word to grow and mature us so we can be fully and completely equipped to live for Him. But what do we do if new ideas come along that seem to contradict what we know about God? We are reminded in James to look out for doctrines that would sway us away from the truth of the gospel and lead us astray. James compares our vacillating on truth to the effect of the wind, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6 Likewise, Paul concludes in Ephesians 4:14-16 that being grounded and rooted in God’s Word will keep us stable and lead us to lives that contribute to the body of believers.
“Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
If we desire to move towards maturity in Christ, we need to be grounded in the truth of the gospel, knowledgeable about what scripture teaches for righteous living and willing to stand firm on God’s Word of truth. Paul says that this grounding in truth will lead to fuller, richer lives that will build up the body of believers and help the whole body of Christ (the church) be stronger. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we can mature into Christians that support and love one another.
What are you doing to grow in maturity? Do you attend church regularly and mediate on what your pastor is preaching on? Are you in a Bible Study group at your church or elsewhere? Growing and maturing in Christ does not happen by chance but requires attention to the Word and study. Be growing in Christ and open to the Holy Spirit’s leading when He presents you with an opportunity for growth.
Here are two International Bible Study organizations that have classes throughout the world. Check them out and see if they are near you. Right now all classes are on-line due to the virus, but they are still going strong as our God is unstoppable.
This idea of thinking biblically is something I’ve given quite a bit of thought. Scripture tells us in Isaiah 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,so are my ways higher than your waysand my thoughts than your thoughts.” God’s way of thinking and doing things are not the same as ours. We are human and finite and God is omniscient and infinite. So, we need to learn to think biblically to understand God’s ways better. How do you go about that? The process begins by spending time in God’s Word, memorizing His Word, and meditating on His Word so that your minds thoughts are immersed in His thinking and ways. Then when you are faced with a situation, you will respond with biblical thoughts more often than with worldly thoughts and actions.
I have had this happen many times while I was memorizing the book of James. It is a very practical book with loads of thoughts to direct our actions. When something would happen, I would immediately recall scripture as my first reaction to a situation. I realized I was practicing biblical thinking and acting like God would have me act. It is an amazing feeling when your first reaction is godly and not worldly. Our thought originate within ourselves and are selfish at heart and of this world. God’s ways are not like ours and only come from being fully covered in His Word.
Psalm 119:11 confirms this idea, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119: 98 “Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,for it is ever with me.” Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feetand a light to my path.” Hebrews 4:12 tells us that God’s Word is powerful and can discern truth. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Having God’s Word in your heart and on and in your mind causes you to think Biblically and react as God would have to you act. As you strive to be more and more like Jesus, becoming sanctified in Him, your thoughts and actions need to reflect Jesus more and more.
Ponder how you can think more like Jesus. Delve into God’s Word and try to soak it up into your very being. Endeavor to practice Biblical thinking this week and see if you are not wiser and led into sin less as you look to His Word as your guide.
The Bible assures us of Hope in various ways. As I mentioned first we have survival hope, that is filled with God’s promises, mercy, care and love. It is continual hope that never quits and demand our praise because of its consistency and unendingness. Psalm 71:14 “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.”
Today let’s look at the Hope we have in Scripture. Psalm 119:114 “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.” Psalm 119:147 “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.” Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;” The psalmist knows that God protects him, as He says so in His Word. He know that in all of life’s circumstances when he calls to God for help, he knows God will answer as He says so in His Word. He also knows that timing belongs to God and that as he waits he has hope because of God’s faithfulness in His Word.
Do you have Hope because of the assurances God gives in His Word? For this to be true, you have to open the Bible daily and feast upon His Word. You have to hunger to know Him more fully and rely upon His Word. Make it a priority this New Year to join a group that studies God’s Word each week. Perhaps your local church has such a group, if so join and make it a priority. Perhaps you need another place to study, look up the following organizations and see if there are classes meeting in your city. Both groups have studies for men, women and children. These are both Bible base interdenominational, internationally available studies that systematically delve into God’s Word seeking to know Him more fully and to apply scripture to life. Bible Study Fellowship and Community Bible Study classes are both found world wide! Look up you city, country and see if a class is close to you. https://www.bsfinternational.org/ and https://www.communitybiblestudy.org/
Delve into God’s Word in 2020 and discover HOPE for living.
In today’s portion of Psalm 119, the psalmist recognizes that following God’s ways, as outlined in the Bible, brings good and will reveal wonders about God.
Psalm 119:17-18 Gimel.
Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word [treasuring it and being guided by it day by day]. Open my eyes [to spiritual truth] so that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. (AMP)
Do you open God’s Word regularly seeking to know Him better and learn a better way of living? The Word of God is to be treasured as it guides and reveals God to us. I like the conclusion that the psalmist comes to in the last verse of this section, verse 24. “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.” Knowing and using God’s Word brings delight, good counsel and hope to the one who seeks answers that are found within the pages of the Bible. Does that describe you? Are you a seeker of truth, guidance and wisdom that comes from God? Prayerfully consider how much time you are spending in God’s Word each week. Do you seek out groups where you can study His Word and learn? If you don’t know where to find such groups- here are a few suggestions. 1) ask your pastor what is available at your own church. If you don’t attend a church or your church does not have groups that match your schedule, here’s someplace else to look. 2) Bible Study Fellowship and Community Bible Study are organizations that present the Bible all over the world. Look them up on-line and see if there is a class you can join that is near where you live. The studies are complete, well laid out and based on the Biblical truths in God’s Word. Here are the links to their websites: https://www.bsfinternational.org and https://communitybiblestudy.org
The study of God’s Word will always result in delight and wonder as God reveals himself to you.