Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Nevertheless I am continually with You. You do hold my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel…whom have I in heaven but You?...It is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God and made Him my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.”
Psalm 73: 23, 24, 25, 28
“Nothing is necessary for you in maintaining a triumphant Christian life, but just to stay by the helm, and put yourself in where the power is. Come unto God, unite yourself to God, and the doing power you have is infinite! – and is none the less yours because it is His. Trim your ship steadily to the course, and God’s own gales will waft it.”
(Waft – to cause to gently and smoothly move through the water or air)
“Whatever God tells us to do, He also helps us to do.”
Today’s Study Text:
“Every Scripture is God breathed (given by His inspiration), and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience and for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose and action).”
II Timothy 3: 16
“Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another – showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training to live God’s way: Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.”
II Timothy 3: 16
The Message Bible
“Why I Love Studying the Bible” Part 2
“It Is God’s Word to Me”
“When you stand before the Word of God, you are not merely encountering a concept; you are standing face-to-face with God. Your response to Him will be radically different from standing before a book. The moment you choose to read His Word, you choose to come into His presence, face-to-face.”
Henry and Tom Blackaby
What does the Bible mean to me in my own daily life?
Do I firmly believe that the Bible is God’s Word?
How much time do I make each day to study my Bible – God’s Word to me?
“God the Father is the giver of Holy Scripture; God the Son is the theme of Holy Scripture; and God the Spirit is the author, authenticator, and interpreter of Holy Scripture.”
“When you received the Word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s Word.”
I Thessalonians 2: 13
It is one of the most touching passages in Scripture. The words found in Genesis 3: 8 nearly make me cry whenever I read them: “When they (Adam and Eve) heard the sound of God strolling in the garden in the evening breeze, the Man and his Wife hid in the trees of the garden, hid from God.” These words strike a chord in my heart because the scene reminds me of the routine my dad started when I was a young girl and I’d get home from school. He would frequently ask me, “Well, Dorothy, what did you learn today?” And in my mind, whenever I read Genesis 3: 8 I’m reminded of how interested God had to have been as He came each day to visit with Adam and Eve in the “cool of the evening” as one version of the Bible tells us. I wonder if God ever said, “What interesting plant did you find in the garden today?” Or maybe God asked, “What would you like me to tell you about the lion?”
Eventide in Eden – how I wish I could have been there, eavesdropping on the conversations that took place between God and His children. We must never forget that at this time in earth’s history, the blight of sin had not touched our planet. It was a perfect environment, occupied by a perfect couple.
But then, in a moment of self-will, having decided that their ability to make decisions on their own was better and wiser than God, Adam and Eve painfully found out that “sin,” a vile toxin, had destroyed what they truly loved and enjoyed. Please don’t think that they didn’t immediately recognize that there had been a drastic change in their Paradise home. Why else did they choose to hide from God when He came for His evening stroll with them? Why else did they take cover, hoping they would not be found?
A break had happened. A crack. A tear in the fabric. And from that point in time, because of the consequence of willful sin, communion with God would be disrupted. No longer were the conversations between God and His children to be face-to-face, eye-to-eye. Oh, how we long for our relationship with God to be the way it was in Eden. And no one reflected on this fact more than Moses. We are told that he asked God, “I beseech You, show me Your glory.” Deep in your heart and mine is a seed planted which as it grows, sparks a yearning in our hearts to get closer and closer to our heavenly Father. But our God is not an arbitrary ruler who repeatedly reminds us of our flaws and failures. Otherwise He would have discouraged Moses with words of rejection from ever seeking His face. Instead, God told Moses that He would “make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim My name, THE LORD, before you: for I will be gracious.” What’s more God didn’t just let the conversation drop. He continued by telling Moses that, “You cannot see My face, for no man (or woman) shall see Me and live.” What God did was to give Moses a special revelation of His person as well as His glory. This encounter is recorded in Exodus 33: 20-23 – “But, (God) said, ‘You cannot see My face, for no man shall see me and live.’ And the Lord said, ‘Behold, there is a place beside Me, and you shall stand upon the rock. And while My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away My hand and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”
God wasn’t denying His presence to “earthlings.” Instead, He was protecting us – sinful human beings – from the full-on glory of His complete holiness where sin cannot exist.
You see, until the entrance of sin into our world, nothing disrupted or divided the perfect completeness found between heaven and earth. But when sin became an inhabitant in the lives of God’s created children, the result was that the devil’s words came true: we were able to see not only good but evil as well. What we found out was that the devil’s reason for wanting to insinuate sin into the lives of God’s children was actually quite easy to understand: Satan knows that when our communion with God is blocked, disrupted, hindered and even stopped, his ability to lay us low is much easier. Don’t forget this fact for a great deal of the wicked one’s time now is spent on keeping us too busy, too burdened, too sick, too successful and too distracted to take time to commune with our Father in heaven. He’ll keep us in a fog of discouragement; in a pile of despair; and in the valley of discontentment! How? By blinding us to the reality that when we open God’s Word, we are communicating – reestablishing if you will, a direct line with our Father. In fact, as we open God’s Word we find ourselves in the presence of our Maker and Friend.
Now I want to ask you these questions: “If I want to get to know what God is like; how He treats His earthly family; and what He has done to stake out a path of victory for me, where should I go?” Believe me, it’s not the self-help section of a bookstore or library!
There’s a simple answer! When I go to God’s Word, walking everyday with my Father, through the revelation of Him found in His Holy Word, to paraphrase the words penned thousands of years ago by “St. Ambrose,” I will find God walking step-by-step with me through His Words seeking my undivided companionship.
This is what I pray will be our experience in the coming year. Together in the early morning hours or in the twilight hours or at midnight – may we take time to commune with God through His personal Word. As author Robert Horn so eloquently pens, “God has favored us with His autobiography so that we might know and think His thoughts in every department of our lives.”
Why do I love studying the Bible? Because it is God’s Word to my heart – and it is God’s Word to your heart, as well. Where better to spend time? As Pastor Charles Spurgeon notes, “The Bible speaks to (us) in tones of God’s voice.” If we want to see our Father, if we want to hear our Father’s voice, if we want to know who our Father is, then let’s open His Word to us.
“How firm a foundation,
ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith
In His excellent Word!
What more can He say
Than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge
To Jesus have fled?”
Rippon’s Selection of Hymns
Give Me The Bible
“Give me the Bible, star of gladness gleaming
To cheer the wanderer lone and tempest tossed
No storm can hide that radiance peaceful beaming
Since Jesus came to seek and save the lost.
Give me the Bible, holy message shining
Thy light shall guide me in the narrow way
Percept and promise, law and love combining
Till night shall vanish in eternal day.
Give me the Bible, when my heart is broken
When sin and grief have filled my soul with fear,
Give me the precious words by Jesus spoken
Hold up faith’s lamp to show my Savior near.
Give me the Bible, all my steps enlighten
Teach me the danger of these realms below;
That lamp of safety o’er the gloom shall brighten
That light alone the path of peace can show.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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