How our view of God changes everything.

Our theology (the study of God) will sculpt our reality. Rather it is wrong or right. Whatever we believe about God will cause us to stand firm or for us to fall away from God. What we believe about God sculpts our decisions. Our thinking of God may even determine how we handle temptations.

So then, it is of most importance to work on our understanding of our God. Now I’m not talking about some deep and profound stances on the Bible, like cessationism or baby baptismal. What I have in mind is knowing the attributes of God. Is God the ends to which I may be fulfilled and satisfied? If not then I may seek fulfillment in lesser things. I will quickly succumb to any temptation. Is God sovereign? If not, then I believe in a puny god who is unable to cause or prevent anything from happening at all. Is God faithful? If not, I have no hope to see any of the good that He’s promised me in Christ. Is God compassionate? If not, then I may believe that He isn’t moved by my suffering, nor wants to fellowship with me in it. Is God wise? If not, then I will think my designs and plans are better for me.

So you see what we believe about God affects truly every waking moment of our lives. If we build our homes on a God who is an accumulation of our own desires and is of our own likeness. When the storms of life come our homes will fall a great fall. But if we press on to know God as He is revealed chiefly in the Holy Bible, then when those same storms come our way our homes will be left standing.

Every day we have to allow the word of God to do its good work of dividing our souls and spirits. Allow the Scriptures to reveal this God within its pages. Bible study can be times of God teaching us so profoundly. It can be so blessed and so precious and spiritual. But it can also be quiet and mundane. We can rush through the Word or be so self-consumed that we don’t even want to know about the God of the Bible, but about little ole us.

There is no time wasted when we have our Bibles opened and our eyes, minds, souls, and affections on God. This is likely the most important thing most of us will do all day. Not much of what we build, or work toward tends to eternity, but Bible study does.

So dig in with both spoon and fork. Let not the many swarming questions discourage you. Look for God in your time of studying the Word. Whatever you can learn about His undertakings’ and His character will be so profitable to you.

God is sweet, tender, merciful and good. Those are the words I would use for Him now. But yet He’s so much more than those descriptions. I think I boast to say those things because for a while I stopped believing those same things about Him. And if God isn’t good (which He is) I have no ground to stand or lay on.

For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”

Deut. 32:47

The command or the word of God is our life. What we believe about God shapes our entire reality. No command or word of God is empty or meaningless. Bible study is not the business God gives us to be busy with (Ecclesiastes 3:10), but it’s how we meet with God. If we only had spiritual eyes we would see God himself sits down at our tables’ and lays beside us on our beds when we read Scriptures. The Holy Spirit that dwells within us is imparting spiritual things to us.

God is eager to teach each of us about all of Him. He desires to be known as we are known by Him. He longs a relationship with us, He wants to walk with us through the hard parts of the Bible, and our every day lives.  And He is faithful to build our understanding of who He is. And to tear down any wrong understanding of Him. God wants us to know how to rightly divided Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15) so that we may live, think and choose wisely.

The satisfaction we crave is found only in God. And there is no bottom nor end in sight with Him. So drink up and be full.

Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash

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A Better Way to Be Encouraged.

I’ll admit that often times when I flop my Bible open my heart, is not hungry to know more about God. But, rather I want a “word” to encourage me on this race set before me. The heaviness of even the smallest things of daily life often wears me so that inwardly I don’t want to meet with God in His Word, I simply prefer a pep talk or a word of encouragement. Some days I’m not so sure that these little pieces are fitting together for a greater whole. And I don’t have the eyes of faith to see that God is constantly gathering up the pieces for my good and His glory. I often want to know (selfishly) how my story will end. Will I rock in old rocking chairs with a godly man who out of his love for God, has learned to love me well? Will He fulfill the requests I’ve made that I may be greatly used by Him? Will I ever hear the pitter-patter of little feet?

Now, I know that those are the wrong reasons to come to God’s Word. But it is also true that I’m so inclined to despondency, discouragement, and faintheartedness that I’ve had this attitude toward the Scriptures more than once.

While reading Isaiah 51 recently, God did that thing again where He proved to me that His Word is living. The words popped off the pages, words that I’m sure I have read before:

“Listen to Me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the LORD: look to the rock, from which you were cut, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain. When I called him, he was only one; I blessed him and made him many.”

Isaiah 51:1-2 HCSB

And then:

“Look up to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and its inhabitants will die like gnats. But My salvation will last forever, and My righteousness will never be shattered.”

Isaiah 51:6 HCSB

God tells His people to look back to His dealings with His saints. And to look all around them at the creation He has made and sustains, alone. Even as I write this I don’t know what plans God has in His heart for me. Yet, I know that if He was good then, He is still good. And because He was faithful to Abraham and even Sarah, He will be faithful to me. I don’t know how or when my life will end, but I do know that thanks to Jesus Christ it will end in victory and with me spending an eternity with my faithful Savior.

Upon finding this timely treasure in God’s word I ran to the internet to skim over various commentaries on this passage and ran into this written by E. Johnson:

“Faith needs to be fed from memory, and memory exerts its proper activity under the instigation of faith. Old truths need constantly to be recalled, and become new truths through the act of attention- the “giving heed to the things we have heard, lest at any time we let them slip.”’

God has inspired and reserved Scriptures for our blessing and for our good. I didn’t need a “fresh word” I needed to observe the mighty deeds and acts of a compassionate God. I needed to be reminded of who He is, what He has done and what He will surely do.

This suggestion was not inspired by humans, but by God himself. All throughout the Scriptures, we see God’s people looking back for God’s faithfulness. They had no way of knowing what lay before them, nor could they see what God intended by their suffering or trials. And indeed felt they had nothing to point to that God was even with them. So they remembered the psalms they sang of God’s justice and compassion.

When Asaph was greatly troubled by some unknown difficulty and consumed by faith-shattering questions. This trouble was so overwhelming that he couldn’t rest at all, nor could anyone comfort him (Psalms 77:2) It was then that he remembered God:

“So I say, “I am grieved that the right hand of the Most High has changed.” I will remember the Lord’s works; yes, I will remember Your ancient wonders. I will reflect in all You have done and meditate on Your actions.”

Psalms 77:10-12 HCSB

Time would fail to list all the men and women of the Bible who took on fresh courage not by hearing a “fresh word” nor by receiving a pep talk, but by meditating and reflecting on what God has done long ago.

We don’t need a “fresh word” from God, we need a fresh look at the same God. We need to behold Him who changes not. God doesn’t have to unfurl all of His plans for our lives, we need to look back to His awesome and meaningful dealings with those who now are around His throne in heaven.

It’s not in the knowledge that we will be granted the peace we desire, but it’s only in the trusting of Him that we will receive and hold it (Isaiah 30:15). How or when will I be greatly used by God? Will I turn gray with a loving husband? Will I ever have my lap or arms full? I don’t know. But what I do know is that God has said that He will be glorified by His saints’(Isaiah 49:3;2 Thessalonians 1:12). God has also promised to carry us to gray hairs (Isaiah 46:4). God has promised the childless a name better than sons and daughters (Isaiah 56:5). I know wherever God calls His child rather to His fields or to a sickbed He is enough. And that for those who lose their spouses or never even walk down an altar, I’m quite sure they are never alone. And too for those who never have children that they can have a heart full and home full of steps from spiritual sons and daughters. There may be a part of your life that the world or even yourself would deem empty, but God himself has occupied it. He has taken that spot, not to harm you, but rather to give you more of Himself.

We are a forgetful people (Isaiah 51:13) and we wearily come to the Word to be reminded. We are reminded that indeed God wastes not our tears (Psalm 56:8) or anything at all. That indeed He remembers and will reward our service to Him. We need to be reminded that a cross is better here than any short-lived crown (Matthew 16:24). We need to be reminded that these trials ought not to surprise nor are they sent to destroy us, (Isaiah 43:2) but that they are ordered to prepare an eternal glory for us (2 Corinthians 4:17). We need to be reminded that God never sleeps nor slumbers and is always at work (Psalm 121:4).

I’ll conclude this post with a stanza written by famous hymn-writer Frances Ridley Havergal:

“Our yet unfinished story

Is tending all to this:

To God the greatest glory,

To us the greatest bliss.”

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How Do You Respond In Trials?

“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭1:20-22‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This was Job’s response to losing his 10 children and all that he owned.

“But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This was Job’s response to being struck with horrible boils that covered his whole body.

I remember reading Job’s response to suffering right after going through a trial and suffering a bit of my own. Reading how Job worshipped the Lord and didn’t accuse Him of evil was far different than how I responded. I was ashamed when I compared my response to (lesser) suffering to Job’s (greater) suffering. As Asaph admitted in Psalm 73, I too was a beast toward God (Ps. 73:22). I accused God so frequently I have to imagine Satan was able to take a break. And when God didn’t hasten to answer my prayers and thus release me from the same trial, I ignored God. I figured,” well since He is ignoring my prayers, I will return the favor.”

By ignoring the communion of prayer and the Word which is the sword of the Spirit, I neglected all hope of fighting the good fight of faith.

I realized that I have need of spiritual fortitude. I also realized that though I would scoff at someone else’s belief in the “prosperity gospel”, my reaction seemed to reflect that I believed being a Christ follower would exempt me of hardships.

More recently I went through a trial where I did absolutely struggle to believe in the wisdom and goodness of God. Yet, I struggled with God rather than apart from Him.

I clung to God. I looked to His Word. I fought to believe what I know already to be true. That God is good and that He is most wise.

“For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.”

‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:31-33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I kept coming to the Scripture above, that spoke a better word to my heart. It showed me the goodness and tenderness of my God in black and white.

God isn’t far off in our trials. He only seems far off if we neglect to seek Him. God isn’t rejoicing in our lamenting. God cares for us. And wants the best for us (Hebrews 12:10).

 

To bless the God whom we know could halt or prevent our suffering is not an easy task. But it is a worthy one.

Dear suffering one, go to the throne of mercy! Pray that you may bless God in your trial and rejoice in your suffering. Pray that God may extend His sufficient grace so that you may persevere. Pray that He may give you a song in the night (Job 35:10). Go to the Word to see what Christ has won for you. Go to the Word and be reminded that this trial-permitting and ordaining God careth for you. Be strong in the strength of His might (Eph. 6:10).

If we but look forward to heaven, an eternity without worry or woe in our suffering, that is God making good. If we but treasure Christ a bit more than we did before, that is God making good. If we are a bit more tender and merciful, like our God, He indeed is making good. God is always up to good, even in our trials.

 

Take heart suffering one, Christ has overcome the world.

 

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I’m A Holy Roller

First let me address what a holy roller is, I found this definition on the Urban Dictionary– Holy Roller: Generally, refer to one who attends a charismatic church service. In which places a great amount of importance on the Holy Spirit. This person tends to be a very devout Christian and during church service, maybe become influenced heavily by the Holy Spirit. Therefore consequently dropping on the floor and rolling “in the Spirit” Hence where the term was coined, Holy Roller. Also generally is a derogatory term.

“Sometimes the word Holy Roller is used more loosely today to refer to anyone who believes the Bible is true, who claims to be an evangelical, or who talks about God in public.” (source)

Most people who use the word today are not speaking about the worship services of certain Christian denominations, but are rather speaking about someone who is a devout Christian. And when they use the word, ‘holy roller’ it is indeed a derogatory word.

So when I say I am a holy roller, what I mean is that I am both a Christian privately and publicly. My religion isn’t a few visits to a local church, but it is a part of my very being.

I believe sin and demonic forces constantly attempt to sway us into believing that being holy isn’t good or acceptable. Or even that we will never reach a place where we can describe ourselves as holy. Often we are shamed by our past sins that prevent us from using the word ‘holy’ to describe anything about our lifestyles. When we are plagued by the fear of man, or when we evaluate ourselves through the eyes others; we are timid to be bold about our faith. We would rather offend our Savior than to offend our neighbor. We would rather be ashamed of the Gospel than to persecuted for it. The term ‘holy roller’ is designed to shame and shush our faith in the Son of God.

“For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground.”Leviticus 11:44 ESV

“but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”1 Peter 1:15-16 ESV

It is very clear all throughout Scriptures that God expects His saints to pursue holiness. We are called to be like God rather you are reading in the Old or the New Testament. Though we (whosoever is in Christ) are included in the New Covenant through Jesus Christ’s own blood. Even in the Old Covenant God put in place laws and boundaries so that the Israelites could also be holy.

The message that the world or culture pushes out is that you can be unholy and ungodly and yet spend an eternity with a holy God that you don’t even know.

But the flock of God shouldn’t be surprised by the world’s messages or even about being made to be a laughingstock. Our Good Shepherd has been kind enough to warn us. In the book of James, it says not to be surprised by our trials, but we should neither be surprised when our faith is mocked. The only reason Cain murdered his brother Abel is that his own works were unrighteous. All throughout Scriptures we see God’s people being mocked and maligned. Why should things be any different for us today?

The Challenge

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”Matthew 5:10-12 ESV

I would like to challenge all of God’s sheep to not dodge persecution in order to keep anyone’s approval. Let’s keep our minds on that handsome reward that is laid up for us in heaven. Love your neighbors’ as we are commanded to but don’t idolize their acceptance of you. You already belong to God’s family and have been embraced by the Everlasting Arms. Don’t be afraid to pursue holiness privately and publicly. What a privilege we have to share in God’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Holiness isn’t bad, it is a higher good. Remind yourself, and your neighbors that without holiness no one can see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

My sinful heart too has been gripped by the fear of man, ever since I can remember.

‘What will they think of me?’

‘What if they reject me?’

People who know me would describe my attitude or personality as being “sweet or kind”. But honestly I was kind to everyone not to love them well but so that they would love and accept me. I’m afraid that I won’t wake up anytime soon and no longer weigh myself through the eyes of others. So what I must do is remind myself (often) that I am acceptable to God through Christ, loved by the Son that laid down His life for me and that I belong to the Most High God. Since it is my default to seek praise and approval from mere mortals, I have to be intentional about rehearsing the truth to myself and also saturating myself in Scriptures that remind me of the truth and all of God’s blessed promises.

“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”1 Peter 4:16 ESV

The incorrigible thing about sin is that it distorts all of God’s good designs. We are not to fear men, we were created to fear God. Shame is good if it turns us away from our sins, but not if it turns us away from suffering with Christ. We are encouraged to glorify God when we are mocked or called “holy rollers” and not be mortified. We are to be glad and rejoice when persecuted not sad and discouraged. I wish I could recommend something that will undo the doing of sin. But what I can offer is the hope of the Gospel and that one day we will not have to deal with sin. But until that day we have to fight the sin that wants to kill us. We have to share our faith with fear and trembling. We have to train ourselves (through reading Scriptures) how to perceive offense or persecution. Not that we seek it out but that when it happens we will know why it’s happening and how to deal with it.

The Word of God says that we are blessed when persecuted and not cursed. We have to tell our souls that this is a good thing.

Yet we are not called to be stoicism we can weep to our God. After all, God is the Father of all our mercies and of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Prayer

Lord, I pray that the person reading this may be cut to the heart (Acts 2:38-39) and yet Lord let them not despair in their conviction. I pray Almighty God that you will give them the grace to suffer well for Christ’s sake. Lord, if they are in anyway hiding their lamp underneath their beds, Lord fill them with such zeal for you and your renown. God, I thank you for not quenching a dimly lit wick. Help them to be zealous for you and uphold them with a willing spirit. I pray Lord make them willing to obey You, willing to strive for holiness, willing to suffer offense or persecution on behalf of Your Son. I say this prayer in His Name, Amen.

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“He Saith” A Poem by Anna Shipton

Preface: I’ve always loved words, especially powerful words of the Christian faith. All of this started once I was introduced to those old hymns, written by those who are now in glory. I started to search and download hymn e-books. I found these words were great sung to music but also had the same power in reading them. I stumbled upon the poetry book of Anna Shipton called, Waymarks of My Pilgrimage. This little treasure was bursting with beautiful and meaningful words. Even though there are centuries between our pilgrimages, the poems were very familiar and dear to my heart.

There isn’t be much known about this author and sometime hymn writer. She’s published many works, most of them being poetry books but she’s also has written essays on the Christian faith. From reading her poems you can tell that Anna knew and treasured Scripture in her heart. In one poem called, God Knows Best Anna writes about her desires to have a family and an easier life. But like the title suggests Anna believed that God in His wisdom withheld both of these things from her.

Anna’s words help me to lift my eyes to God and often reminds me that He is what life is all about. I know all of her poems will encourage your hearts as well. But this particular poem I’ve decided to share, I think as you read you’ll see why.

“HE SAITH.”

 “Thou hast dealt well with Thy servant, O Lord, according unto Thy word. … I rejoice at Thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. ” — Psalm cxix. 65, 162.

When the Father His little one smiteth,

A blessing must brood underneath ;

I will walk by the lamp that He lighteth,

And rest on the word that ” He saith.”

He saith, ” I will never forsake thee,”

Each day He proclaims it anew ;

And again to my Rock I betake me,

And prove that His promise is true.

He saith, ” I will guide thee :”

oh, never Distrust the full truth of His word ;

To-day, and to-morrow — for ever,

Let me rest on Thy promise, my Lord.

I know He is faithful who said it,

‘Tis written and sealed in His word ;

And day after day I have read it,

And said, ” I believe Thee, my Lord.”

But do I believe it and live it,

And know He is willing to be

As true as His word, and to give it

A thousand times better to me?

A mansion is mine,

He’ll prepare it,

Though the least of His servants am I ;

And, better than all, He will share it,

As ages on ages go by.

When I gaze on the wild roaring billow,

Shall I fear He will leave me alone?

Reposing no more on a pillow,

He watches His child from the Throne.

And yet, when the storm riseth higher,

And again on the waves I am tost,

I forget that my Saviour is nigher,

And cry in despair, ” I am lost !”

He saith, ” Call, and I will deliver,”

He hath won me from sin and from death :

Shall I dread, then, the dark rolling river,

When I hope in the word that He saith?

When the terrors of death shall assail me,

Shall I cling to a cistern of clay?

Shall I rest on a reed that will fail me,

When Jehovah’s right hand is my stay?

Is the Saviour unwilling to give us

The riches He rose to bestow?

Will the God of our mercies deceive us?

No ! Calvary’s cross answers No!

How poor are earth’s richest resources,

How rich is each promise to me ;

Though some trust in chariots and horses,

Lord, let me trust only in Thee.

*bolded for emphasis

Last Things:

Would you like me to share more poetry or hymns on this blog?

What content would you like to feature on this blog?

Leave me a comment down below?

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Where The Rubber Meets The Road

This week has been interesting, to say the least. It started off with comparison gripping my heart. I was just scrolling on Instagram and all of a sudden I see a sister in Christ, celebrating something I had prayed for and had not yet received. Instagram has been a blessing in my life but also a stumbling block. I love to encourage women, men, anyone who follows me with God’s truth. I feel really useful in God’s kingdom because of the content I create and share on Instagram.

I think social media and blogging as a whole gives me the ability to use the gifts that God has given me for the body of Christ.

Comparison for me is like when someone hits the lights in a bug-infested home, they all come out and scatter. I get thundered with comparisons, questions, and accusations toward God. I loathe the fact that rejoicing with others isn’t something that I do well. I consider my lot and I am intensely infuriated by the fact that I even dare to compare myself to anyone else. It is the absolute worst. I know these comparisons, questions, and accusations are all lies but I can’t stop myself from believing them. I get so angry that I want to delete the app or take a break from it altogether. I become convinced that if I didn’t have an Instagram account I wouldn’t be dealing with comparisons. My frustrations with dealing with comparison reminded me of the depression I had dealt with before Christ. I was so depressed and there wasn’t a “reason” for it in the world. Back then I didn’t know that you could be depressed and have no reason for those feelings. I didn’t know about chemical imbalances in the brain that cause depression. But that’s how it feels to compare my life to others. There is nothing wrong with what God has given me, but I couldn’t find it in myself to be thankful for any of it.

Then I started to slowly but surely drift away from God. I wasn’t peeling open my Bible nor was I praying at all. And if I did it was quick and my requests were for others and not myself. At a certain point, I started to believe that God was angry with me for not reading my Bible and for not praying. It’s moments like this where my performance streak sneaks up on me. If I thought that God was angry with me because I stopped doing spiritual disciplines, then I must really believe that those things are what makes me acceptable to Him; and not the sacrifice of His Son. I fell in this slump of self-pity and overindulging in things to pacify or reward myself.

What I did was lie down in the biggest battle that I continue to have, for my mind. It felt like I had left the house in the biggest rainstorm. The lies thundered in my head, and I had drifted away from the only anecdote, God’s truth. I cannot ignore the spiritual realities of what I was dealing with. The accuser’s lies were so swift and so fast that they pushed me off a ledge. I felt I couldn’t win the battle. I felt I couldn’t hold every thought captive. It felt overwhelming and I did all I knew how to do, which is cower and raise my white flag.

I titled this entry, “Where the rubber meets the road” because we all will go through these storms and we need to hide the word of God in our hearts before the surging waters. By God’s grace, I’ve always been pretty consistent spending time in His Word. But in that storm (due to me drifting away from time in the Word) I was bone dry. I had some remnants of scriptures in my heart, but not enough to survive that level of a storm. While you are in a storm or a trial, is not the time to slacken on spending time in God’s Word. You will feel so weary but you still need to hide the Word in your heart.

We read God’s word so we can know Him, and worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). We are also commanded to love Him with our mind (Luke 10:27). But also when we have to walk out in the worst rainstorms. These storms or trials are different from person to person. But God permits these for a very grand purpose, so that we may know Him better. Think about what Job said in response to his own sufferings:

“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and I repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6

Job says he had some amount of knowledge of God but through his sufferings, he came to know God more deeply.

Friends, when you go through storms don’t assume that God is unable to snatch you out of them. But lest we forget that suffering, storms, and trials produce a needful fruit within us that sunny days cannot.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

The next time we face a storm we will endure longer and we won’t give up so soon. We have been given the privilege to not just believe in Christ but also to suffer with Him (Phil 1:29). So, our quiet time isn’t just to stir our hearts or more importantly to renew our minds. But also help us to face the storm, hand in hand with other believers and following behind our great Shepherd.

Please, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. And, stop by my shop and pick up some cute tees. Thank you for checking my little square of the Internet, be sure to follow and like. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog. I pray that it edifies you and glorifies God.

Four Things To Look Out For While Reading The Bible

I don’t know any other topic I am consistently passionate about other than the Bible. I want to see every child, woman, and man to grab a hold of the Bible and not let go. To look and look at their Maker until they resemble His likeness. But with that said I thought it was important to note how to be watchful of ourselves when we read our Bibles.

1. Studying Or Reading The Bible Doesn’t Earn God’s Love.

God’s love is perfect so there is nothing that we can do to add or take away from that love. I wish I could say that this is a lie that I only believed when I first had saving faith in Christ. But it is a lie I am inclined to believe this to this very day. I realized only once I got saved that I have a performance streak in me. I wanted to prove just how lovable I could be to this God. And the other side of that coin was that when I knew in myself that I was wholly unlovable, I sank into the pit of despair. This takes reminding ourselves of the Gospel every day. We may not read a chapter of the New Testament every day. But we must repeat the Gospel to ourselves with intentionality.

For example:

“God accepts and loves me because of Jesus Christ. I have experienced the great exchange with Jesus. He has received the punishment, separation from the Father, and death that my sins deserved. And I have received His righteousness. I am a child of God and He is jealous for me.”

We can spend hours in the Bible or we can spend minutes, His love will not change for us. But also I think Jen Wilkin said it best, “The heart can’t love what the mind does not know”.

Scripture reading is so good for our souls. It makes obedience look good and sin look bad. It anchors our often troubled souls. We have a new need for God’s truth every single day that we awake. We love the Word so that we may love God more and keep His commands not that He will love us. He already does, He loved us even while we were His enemies (Romans 5:8). How amazing is that! And we are no longer His enemies we are His children.

2. That Any Truth Gleaned Is Revealed To Us By God

It didn’t take long for the sin of pride to grip my heart when reading the Word. At one point every time I would open the Bible I would discover so much truth that I began to believe the lie that it was my wisdom that had garnered these truths. God quickly responded to this by showing me that it wasn’t within myself that I had gleaned these truths. In those following days the Bible that was opened up to me like an oyster was shut tight and I couldn’t make it open to me. The Holy Spirit soon convicted me and I repented. I’ve always fancied myself to be bright, and I thought that explained why I understood so much of the Bible. When in all actuality it was my Teacher, the Holy Spirit who gave me these truths. Now I come to the Word as humbly as I can, with lots of prayer. I believe that those days where I don’t understand certain passages of the text reminds me just how dependent I am on God to understand His Word.

3. Searching Scriptures Only To Find A ‘Word’ For The Day.

I get it, I do, sometimes we just have to make a beeline for the book of Psalms. The toil of everyday living or the storms of life have us going to and fro, and we need to be anchored in God’s truth. But I often would come to the Bible so weary that I wasn’t trying to learn about God, I just wanted to be assured that it would all be alright. I looked intently for the verse that could speak into my life that day. Instead of looking for the attributes of the God that never changes.

The Bible is about God, period. We do gain insight into who we are or into human nature by reading the Word. But if we come to the Bible only to look for ourselves we are cheating ourselves.

I think for a while I didn’t realize that seeing various attributes or the character of God could anchor my troubled soul as well. This God whom Enoch walked with, I walk with today. The God that was faithful to David will be faithful to me. I had no idea that what I needed the most was to see God, and not myself.

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.” – Corrie Ten Boom

I usually sneak a line or two in my prayer before reading the Word. For example:

“Lord, clear any ill-motivations that I may have for coming to Your Word.”

Some wrong reasons that I’ve come to the Bible include:

  • To share something on social media.
  • To check Scripture reading off my to-do list.

In themselves neither of these reasons are sinful. It is good to use our platforms to make much of God. And Scripture reading is a spiritual discipline that needs to be on our list of daily priorities. But because of the sin in our hearts any good thing can be perverted and twisted.

I may only be sharing to gain some vainglory for myself, or to make much of myself and not Christ. This is a problem. I may get so caught up in scratching meeting with God off my list that I don’t ask Him give me a desire for His Word. Or I don’t ask Him to bring revival into my heart. And even more importantly I don’t repent of these feelings. I know that the word of God is sweeter than honey (Psalm 19:10;119:103). So when I can’t taste the sweetness there is something wrong with my taste buds. And this too is a problem

4. That Reading God’s Commands Are More Important Than Keeping Them.

God prizes obedience to His commands over our own knowledge of them. All through Scriptures God tells us over and over again that keeping His commands is what really matters to Him. He told it to King Saul by way of the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 15:22). Jesus spoke about the man who built his house on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). And James warned us not to be hearers only but to be doers of God’s word (James 1:22).

The blessing comes in the doing not in the knowing.

This took me a while to grasp. I certainly know the miserableness of knowing better and not doing better. I think on some level we all do going through this lifelong process of sanctification. God has given us a portion that He knew we could handle. He’s given us today, and to practice the truth we’ve attained (Philippians 3:16)

Last Things

Even though I present these four things to look out for while reading the Bible, let us not cease to press on to know God. Meeting with God is more important than anything else we can do. Let us still put that important meeting on the top of our lists. Let us still come to the Word weary-hearted. Finally, let us be watchful but let us not stop gleaning from God’s enduring Word.

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