Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Oh Yes I Did! Please Word of God Speak To Us
Note to readers: The words to this song are in the video.
Have you ever had one of those prayers that as soon as you pray simply and sit quiet that God bursts on the scene and gives you so much insight that you are stunned. I had one of those prayers today. I laid down in my bed just asking for God to give all my kids rest for a nap and help me in my struggle against the tide of sin that rushes against my life and my prayer exploded into over an hour and a half of the best insight I’ve had since beginning this ministry. And on top of that after the prayer was over, I got an hour nap of my own while my kids finished their almost three hour nap. That almost never happens. All three of my kids slept during the same time period.
The heart of my prayers lately was for God to give me what I am supposed to talk about and help me using His Word so that it’s understood that the words I write are from God and not my own total thought. He started with a question. How do you expect to use MY WORD to its fullest intent unless you are deep in reading THE WORD? I have been reading, but as I told you in an earlier post, I am trying to finish it all this year. God helped me understand that it was important that I increase the rate of my reading so that I am learning more and more from Him quicker.
So I asked God and myself a question. If all the power is in the blood, then what is the real value of His Word? God then probably chuckled to himself and decided to go quiet and leave the research to the fine fingers of me. So here’s a summary of what I’ve learned and am passing on to you.
The Word is important early in life as Psalms 119:9 tells us that a young man will keep his way pure by living according to God’s Word. It is followed up two verse later telling us that “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” The writer of Psalms continues in verses 105-106 with “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.” God’s Word is so important that the writer takes an oath to keep it. Sometimes I wonder if Christians today should take the same oath to try to keep the Word. I think many do mentally even though it may never be verbally acknowledged.
Earlier in the Psalms (Psalm 12:6), David writes that the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times. The word flawless is used three other times in scripture (2 Samuel 22:31, Psalm 18:30 and Proverbs 30:5). The image of purification is significant. However, instead of once, David tells us that it is like being purified seven times. I would think that much purification would only produce the best of the best in silver.
All of the other references I will use for this commentary but one come from the New Testament. The first appears in Matthew 24. Verse 35 tells us that heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s Word will not. Ephesians 6:17 tells us that the Word is the sword of the Spirit. In Hebrews 4:12, it is explained. “For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Having that knowledge and using that Word will affect our decisions and the way we treat others. Colossians 3:16 tell us how to live with that knowledge. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Yes, having the love of the Word of God helps you sing better, which might explain some of the freak shows from American Idol. We definitely need to be praying for some of them, now don’t we?
Having the Word doesn’t always guarantee that we’ll be cheerful, but Phillippians 2:14-16 tells us that we should have a good spirit in using it. “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the Word of life-in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.” This was Paul encouraging the Phillippians, but ought we not live to live the same way.
James takes that point further in his book’s first chapter. In verse 22, he admonishes us not just to listen to the word but be doers. In verses 23-24, he explains that if we only listen and do not do what it says that we are like “a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” In verse 25, he finishes the verse by stating that if we do look intently and do as it says that “he will be blessed in what he does.” That sounds like how I want to live.
The Word does not come without warnings. Paul encouraged Timothy in his second letter to him in chapter two, verses 14-15. “Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
Paul adds two more important points to the Corinthians about the Word. The first is in 2 Corinthians 2:17. “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.” Paul wanted people to understand that the word wasn’t for sale. The Word is the truth and isn’t to be changed to make a buck. I won’t tell you the number of times I thought about sending these words to some televangelists I’ve seen.
The second poin the makes is in the same book of chapter four. He starts the chapter by stating, “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” Paul wanted to drive the point home that he was speaking honestly and sincerely.
I’ll end this with two other words of warning that God says about misusing his Word in scripture. The first is Proverbs 30:6, “Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” That’s something you never want to happen when you speak with authority. You risk losing all credibility. The first question I ask when I read something and find it to be false is this. Was it a misspeak or was it deception? I’ve met many men who were not great speakers or writers and they messed up accidently. Those types usually will admit the error and either correct it or at least say there was a misunderstanding. I tend to give those folks a few more chances to prove themselves.
The last is the gravest warning of misuse of the Word and comes at the end of Revelation. Chapter 22, verses 18-19 say this, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book; if anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” I realize these two verses talk about the book of Revelation, however, I think this should serve as a heavy warning for those that wish to use God’s Word for uses other than intended.
In the early days of teaching Sunday school at Bible Baptist, I remember telling my friend Randy Jackson that teaching the Bible was different than teaching in the school system. I was nervous every time before a Bible lesson. Why? Because I realize this: If I don’t teach the Word of God as intended, accidental or otherwise, there could not only be consequences for me, but also for the people of which I have been graced to teach. I don’t care how you slice it, teaching God’s Word is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. I pray always for the right words for people to understand and receive full blessings toward what God wants them to learn and that if I ever state something incorrectly, that it will be explained to me quickly, so that I can try to do the right thing and make sure the words are the proper ones.
God wasn’t done with me when he gave me those ideas to look and research words on The Word. He gave me other items to talk about and I pray that I am able to give the same care and appreciation of each topic that I cover as part of One Man Revival. I thank each and every reader for taking time to read and encourage any comments that will help me or any other person that is reading at these pages.
I love you guys!