For the last few days, I discussed how the “light” of God’s Word is to guide each step we take in our lives. We need to measure each thought and action by what has been revealed to us through the work of the Holy Spirit.
What began all this was a quote from Eric Osborn, my Pastor shared with us:
The search for certainty is the enemy of the search for truth
After hearing this, I began wondering how we can assure ourselves of reaching the truth, instead of simply attempting to find clarity? I mean, in the truth of God’s Word, will there still be things I do not understand? Will there still be mysteries?
Well, the simple answer is, yes. In fact, the more truth you find, the greater you won’t understand. I know that sounds contradictory, but that is the reality of our searching. But how do we do that? Do we need to just watch a lot of Charles Stanley, or read “The Bible for Dummies”? Nope. But here are a few suggestions for you:
- Read the Bible: Indeed, you need to read the Bible. But, if you don’t own one, go out and purchase one, because you need a copy you can write notes in, highlight and underline important things. Like what? Well, as you read the Bible, you will discover things that totally blow your mind, and you will want to go back read them again at times. I will tell you how to approach your reading, in just a moment.When you go to buy your Bible, find one that you can read. I have brought this up before, and I received some emails from folks saying, “Oh no! It MUST be a King James Version.” Really? First of all, there are many problems with that translation (and sure, I can discuss that with you privately, if you wish), the first being very few of us speaketh Elizabethan English. Even people from England don’t speak it anymore. Today you can find all kinds of various translations and paraphrases. I like ’em all! In my house are probably eighty different ones. My favorites are the Word of God and the Names of God, which are the same translation, except one uses the Names of God, instead of “Lord,” or “God,” or the other titles used.Others versions that I enjoy, depending on whether I am studying or simply reading. There is the Amplified Bible, the Expanded Bible, The Message and Living Bible and my favorite, J.B. Phillips Translation of the New Testament and a fun one is the Cotton Patch Version.Just remember that reading the Bible takes time, but it is worth more than gold. Simply figure out which one is easiest, and purchase it. Or, if you like going online, use BibleGateway. This site provides access to most all of the English Translations. Sorry, for those of you in Bangladesh, they do not provide Bangla. But they do provide translations in Spanish, Dutch, German, Swedish and Danish and several other languages.Now, I want you to be honest and figure out how much time you spend each day on things that are worth nothing (like the time you spend watching TV or “surfing” the internet), then decide how much you can give to Bible reading. One of my favorite teachers in High School used to tell us that no matter how thick a book may be, it can be got through if you spend fifteen minutes a day at it.Now this is unfair of me to discuss, because even before I became a disciple of Jesus, I used to read the Bible. In fact, in High School, when I read that the Holy Spirit will enable us to speak a foreign language, that we had never spoken before, I thought it meant he would help me with my French lessons. (Unfortunately, he didn’t and I actually had to study it. Bummer).
But once I gave my life to the Lord, suddenly the Holy Spirit got involved and to this day, I have difficulty putting it down to eat or sleep. There was a time when you would never see me without a Bible in my hand. Anytime I open my Bible it seems to explode right before my eyes. I am left astounded and amazed at the Wisdom and Wonder within my Bibles.
- Pray: That’s right, ask the Holy Spirit to get involved in your Bible Reading. Pray before, during and after your reading. In fact, you will learn how the words of the Scriptures can shape and form your prayers. If you can find any good prayer books, go ahead and integrate them into your Bible reading. But before you begin reading your Bible, simply say,
“Holy Spirit, please help me understand what I will be reading right now. You are a fabulous teacher and I would love to have you participate in this reading with me.”
Simply ask the Lord to help you to understand and apply what you read into your own life and walk of faith. Essentially, you are allowing the Spirit of God to do what he was hoping to do all along!
- Meditate the Word: There are two aspects of that. First, the Hebrew word for “meditate,” actually means to “mutter,” to “speak.” So confessing the Word of God is allowing it to enter your spirit and causing faith to grow in your heart.The second aspect of “meditating,” is learning to be silent. That is a tough one for many, but our Father had indeed instructed us to be still and know that He is God. Think of that fact in the context of the passage you have read. Give the Holy Spirit a chance to enlighten you. Our prayer should be, “Speak Lord, for your servant hears,” not, “Hear Lord, for your servant is speaking.”
- Apply the Truth: This is certainly an area where we need the Lord’s help, especially, to show us what the words mean in terms of our own obedience. Pray, “Whatever you show me, Lord, by your grace I’ll do it!”
- Obey the Word: Now. Today. Do the thing required. If you see nothing that is required, remember the most important thing that is always required: trust God. Don’t be afraid.
Now, I do hope that these Morning Messages can contribute to your studies, and they are intended to be simple, the fruit of my own quiet times. And I admit that sometimes I repeat myself and that certain themes recur, but they are lessons I have been working on ever since I came to Jesus back in 1979: trust, obedience, the sovereignty of our God, sacrifice, suffering, strength, help, love, assistance, consolation, mystery, and paradox. All of these things and more display the love and care of our dear Father, whom I love passionately.
And, the recurrence of certain passages, certain applications of the Word, if nothing else, is evidence of how slow a learner I am and how often my Teacher needs to assign a review. And sometimes, if my sharings appear to be too much like lectures, I apologize, but I am attempting to share the lesson that was given to me, without argument, without equivocation and without pulling any punches.
As a matter of fact, you may find quite a different lesson in my messages than I intended. That is cool. Allow the Spirit of God to teach you and simply allow my words to possibly prompt His creativity. I am only attempting to help, to assist His work in your life. May the be a lamp for your feet.
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you—a to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.