Monday, January 10, 2011

Daily Personal Application of the Bible

I am convinced that many do not really know how to apply the Bible in their daily reading, and that is why they struggle with daily reading. This is not meant to be a judgment over others; quite the contrary. It is my passion for others to have a vibrant walk with God that includes daily, practical application of His Word! And it is possible!

Honestly, when I come before God each morning, expecting something for my heart and life, I am excited to read His Word! It's not a "have-to." I'm not claiming to have it all down pat, but I would love to share some ways that I endeavour to apply the Word every day. If you're struggling in this area, don't be embarrassed or ashamed. It's true that you may just need to develop the character and discipline to a daily schedule of reading God's Word. But perhaps it's just some practical "how-to" knowledge that would get you over the hump!

This is a very simple, basic example of one of the ways I journal my application of the Bible. I am presenting it unedited from my journals. During my morning time with God, I also include other devotional books such as My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers and Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles Cowman. However, for the notes that follow, I have read straight from the Scripture, with no notes from other sources. All these application notes are what God spoke to me about as I was reading this morning, in a very basic format.

January 10, 2011
Mt. 8:10-12. Jesus mentioned “great faith,” and verse 11 says that many shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. Then verse 12 starts with a contrasting “but,” and talks about “the children of the kingdom” being cast into outer darkness. Does the contrasting word merely indicate the contrast between their destination: heaven or hell? Or does the contrasting word indicate that many will “sit down with” the saved here on earth, but they are not truly saved? {thinking about this!}

Ps. 9:16. “The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth: {colon—the next phrase explains this further} the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.” There is a choice we make that will bring consequences. It is not a matter of a mean, surly God happily executing judgment on people.

Ps. 9:20. Prayer for the City of Woodstock: “Put them in fear, O LORD: that [Woodstock] may know themselves to be but men.”

Pr. 3:5-6 can only be claimed in the context of verse 1-4: “My son, forget not my law... keep my commandments…” Hold onto mercy and truth, both together; not one without the other. THEN you can trust in the LORD with all thine heart… lean not to thine own understanding… acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Too many people claim these verses for direction without realizing they have forgotten God’s law in many areas, they are not keeping His commandments (which are not grievous), and they are not holding to mercy and truth TOGETHER. Trusting must come along with obeying.
1.     Forget not my law—get the Scripture inside your mind and heart!
2.     Keep my commandments—obey Scripture!
3.     Don’t forget that mercy and truth go together—you can’t have one without the other.
4.     Trust in the LORD with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding—don’t try to figure things out on your own.
5.     Acknowledge Him in ALL thy ways—He should be central to your life, invited and involved in everything you are and do.

Note: The way I select these passages for reading is by using a One Year Bible--the entire KJV arranged in 365 daily readings. I do not hold myself to reading this entire Bible in one year, but I use it as a guide. If I get behind, I do not try to catch it all up in one or two days, because this causes me to speed-read, rather than read to apply personally, and it discourages me. I don't want to put God in a box; if He leads me to read different passages one morning, then I do. In the One Year Bible, I put a little checkmark at the end of each passage that I read, just to use as a record of what I have read. When I go through it next year, I can easily see the passages I have read, as well as those I have not yet read in this context of study. This may not work for others, but it is a way I have found that is not self-defeating. I don't want to set such a lofty goal for myself that I set myself up for failure, and I don't want my Bible reading time to become a formula. I believe it should be a wonderful communication time between God and me! However, I do want to have a plan to meet with God so that the day does not slide by without this important quiet time!

Journaling is not for everyone. But it is a scientific fact that writing things down (or typing them) helps one learn and apply things better than merely reading. By the same token, reading aloud is better than reading silently, because you are not just using your eyes; your ears are also hearing it, and your voice is speaking it. The more senses you use when learning something, the more you tend to remember and apply it in life.

Have a wonderful quiet time with God! He loves you and longs to meet with JUST YOU!

Friday, January 7, 2011

From My Journals... Ramblings From My Heart...

Photo courtesy of Monique Tremblay

 I am burdened as we start the New Year. I feel the church is passive. I feel that we as individual believers are passive and apathetic. I feel a burden to prayer and consecrated living more than ever… and I am not talking about religion or pious legalism.

What are we really living for? What is our purpose? To walk with Him. To have a relationship with Him that is real and personal! Not to “make it” or to have significance in this world! That search for significance is a bug that somehow I have been bitten by, even with my strong Christian upbringing. If Christ is “all and in all” as Colossians says, then why do we live for such shallow things? 

I feel so ashamed that I have lived this past year (and years!) more for my own pleasure and comfort than in joyful abandon to God. Sure, I’m committed to God, to a vibrant walk with Him, and to the ministry to which He has called me. But looking at the saints of old like Hannah Whitall Smith or Jim Elliot … am I really? Looking at the saints who were persecuted for their faith, who lived (and even today live) under the constant threat of being arrested, imprisoned, beaten, or in some other way persecuted… am I really that devoted to God? Looking at my prayer life… do I pray for myself? To be relieved of sufferings or even for wisdom more than I pray to be humbled myself or pray for the souls of the unsaved or for the walks of my fellow believers to become more passionate?

What does walking “in His steps” really mean? Do I have any idea what it means to ask in everything, “What would Jesus do?” And then to do it? I feel my heart is apathetic; not just the hearts of others at church! I must be the change I would like to see in the church. I must not judge the next person, but allow my own passion for Christ—that which He alone can awaken in me—to shine through to inspire others to the same calling. It has nothing to do with my own efforts to "do better." I must merely yield to His Spirit in me!

If Christ is to be all, what does that look like in my daily life? How much more time in prayer would I feel compelled to spend—not for formula’s sake, not for show, not to look or feel more spiritual, but because I feel so drawn to spend the time with my Lord?!

How many more tears would I shed at the mere feeling of humility before my Lord? Not tears of grief for myself because of my sufferings and trials or things I dislike, but tears of humility, realizing that I’m the last one worthy and the first one grateful that He would even deign to walk or talk with me! That He would even desire to be intimate with me! That He would go to all the trouble of coming to earth and living in this painful world just to show me that He cares about the feelings of my infirmities! That He would even go through the beating and scourging and the awful death of crucifixion just because He loves me! Little me! A nobody who became somebody only because of Him!

God, grant me a heart to know You more… truly in a real, personal, and passionate way! Not just platitudes and pious prayers coming out of my lips, but a genuine grateful heart that understands more and more every day what Your Son did for me! That the things of this earth would grow strangely dim in the light of Your glory and grace!

If I only knew and understood the depth of what He did!
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