April 9, 2014

Hearing God first

There is a saying that if someone’s Bible is falling apart, then that person is not. Our friend Doris is one of those people. Her Bible must be rebound or replaced, but she is one of the most ‘together’ people that we know.

Scripture proves itself in the lives of those who read and follow it. It changes the way we live but it also changes the way we pray. George Muller, a well-known man of prayer, said to “prime the pump of prayer by reading and meditating on the Scriptures.” That is, let God speak to you through His word before you speak to Him through your words.

Perhaps the main reason given for letting the Bible get dusty is, “I don’t understand it” but I’ve heard it said, “It isn’t the parts I don’t understand that bother me; it is the parts that I do understand.”

Of course that is a problem, “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. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:12–13)

Yet as I read it and allow God to sort out my motives and cleanse my heart, He also proves to me the promises made throughout its pages of its benefits, promises like this one made to Joshua . . .

No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:5–8)

Or this promise of blessing spoken of by the psalmist . . .

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1–2)

Or this promise of growth and spiritual fruitfulness given by Paul to a young pastor named Timothy . . .

Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:15–16)

All my life I’ve struggled with fixing my mind on anything. I’ve blamed the scattered mind of ADD, yet realize that thinking about God and His Word is a continual decision. His people have always had to be told to do it, and have always had to make a commitment to do it. As we do, it becomes a joyful part of living for Jesus . . .

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. (Psalm 119:15–16)

Thinking God’s thoughts involves worship, but is also is an important part of the ongoing conversation I can have with the Lord, the ongoing conversation of prayer. Again, I will choose with the psalmist to “ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.” (Psalm 77:12–14)

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