Before you read any further, do me a favor. Go to the comments section and share with me your favorite movie quote. Go ahead, the rest of this post will still be here when you get back.
Here are some of mine:
So we’ve probably all memorized a movie quote or two. Even if you couldn’t think of any without a google search, if you sat down and watched your favorite movie, you’d be able to say the next line before the actor does. You’ve memorized it. It’s in you, deep down somewhere. But here’s another question:
Have you ever memorized scripture before?
I do sometimes. I’m not the best at it, but I also have to challenge myself to do it. When I was a kid, I was in a Christian Scouting program called “Caravan.” We’d learn about the bible and faith at the same time learning a lot of the things that the better known scouting programs are famous for. Outdoor exploring, astronomy, cooking, sewing, first-aid…lots of stuff! But one of our key verses to memorize was Proverbs 3:5-6. Though it was just part of the rigmarole of the scouting club (we got badges, by the way,) That verse stuck with me. It got inside me and God used it to shape me and mold me as I grew.
As I encountered struggles in my life, I remembered I had a choice: Do I trust God with all my heart or not? Am I going to lean on my own understanding or his? Will I consider what he wants to do before I plow ahead with what I think I want to do?
And that’s a good example of why scripture memorization is important. You may not get anything out of it at first, but when you truly memorize scripture it’s like eating a tasty apple. You ingest it. It’s in you. It nourishes you. That’s the word of God. And God says He will make our path’s straight. Sounds good to me!
Howdy friend! I hope you are doing great. The new ViroquaNaz sermon will be online in the next day or so, but I wanted to tell you about something new I’m starting tomorrow, (August 31).
One day I was listening to a pastor speak about bible study. Sometimes you don’t know where to start, what to read and for what setting in your life. He simply suggested an easy way to get into the habit of bible study is to read one proverb a day. He said “Did you know there are 31 chapters in Proverbs? In a typical month you could read one proverb a day.” Well, that stuck with me.
Every time I’ve hit a lull in bible reading or I’m in between bible studies, I’ll look at the calendar and pick the chapter that corresponds with the day of the month. So I’ve decided to publish 1 devotional post each day from August 31 – Sept 30. These will not be my longer, sermon based entries. They will short devotionals that you will hopefully find encouraging and inspiring. Maybe it’ll get you thinking deeper about Proverbs.
Do you need a suggestion for a good online bible site? #nonspon But I use biblegateway.com for all my online studying needs. It has MANY different versions/editions of the Bible, including “Mounce Inner-linear Greek New Testament” and the “Orthodox Jewish Bible.” Both of these have helped to give me insight. For weekly bible study, I’m on YouVersion app. (my.Bible.com) If you’re interested in yet another bible study join me over at “Finding Rest” bible study. (Click the link to join)
This post is a bit unusual. You seen, typically this is a sermon I rework into a blog post and then post the link of my message (recorded on the most recent Sunday morning) HERE. But there was no sermon to record. No sermon text to reword. I had all the ideas for this message, but because I was ill and I am still working on getting over this, I was unable to do my normal pastoral stuff.
So here we are, with the topic I wanted to speak about this past Sunday. The topic I began to study about early last week, then didn’t have the strength to complete until today. I want to briefly touch on two topics, two spiritual disciplines that no Christian walk can ignore. They are self examination and meditation.
Self examination (introspection)
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV
Here in 2 Corinthians, we have Paul admonishing his audience to look deep inside them and make some big decisions. Have you ever had a make a BIG decision?
Go to college or start a career?
Marry or stay single?
Stay put or move?
Have children or not?
I’m sure there are many other life choices a decisions one can make. They are life changing and shaping, each and everyone of them. They guide us and make us the people that we are becoming. Without those decisions and even the process of making decisions, we would be a completely different person.
Paul is specifically saying that the Corinthians need to check their hearts, see “whether [they] are in the faith.” Have you ever struggled with life’s tough questions?
What happens to us when we die?
How can I trust this person when they’ve betrayed me?
How do I know what Jesus said he did…he actually did?
Perhaps you have different questions, but the faith that the Corinthians had to decide on was this: “Is Christ IN us or Not?” When we accepted Him, his salvation, his free Grace, did he actually come in a take up residence in our hearts and lives? Is the Holy Spirit actually ready, willing and able to guide us along life’s road?
I submit to you, my friend, these are the questions that we need to ask of ourselves. Ask until a certain point.
I’m not asking in order to reinforce Doubt but rather to build reassurance.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”
Romans 5:1 NIV
John Wesley shared his experience of assurance of Faith in his journal entry on May 24, 1738.
“In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society at Aldersgate Street, where one was reading from Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change that God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation. And an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
As we ask the questions, have the deep conversations with God, The Holy Spirit can and does give us a “Blessed Assurance.” If we are not at peace with these questions, perhaps the next step is to as “why?”
But again, don’t go it alone. Find someone who you trust and has been down the road of faith. Maybe your local pastor. Maybe a parent, neighbor, or a friend. They may help you see things and God at work inside you that you are unable to see yourself. They may be the answer to prayer you’ve been waiting for.
Meditation (on God)
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
Philippians 4:8 NIV
When looking deep inside ourselves, asking the questions “do I believe?” “Is Christ in me?” “Did Jesus do what he said he would do?” It is also of great help to our assurance to meditate on God.
Do I mean sitting, legs and arms crossed, chanting “ohm” and emptying one’s self of everything in order to become one with the universe? No. Christian mediation does seek to remove distractions, but it is in the service of hearing from God.
Have you ever cleared out all OLD emails from your email account? I’ve never been able to do it. It’s full of junk from years of neglect. But if you have, if you keep it tidy, you certainly wouldn’t miss the important email that comes in next. The right at the top. Marked urgent.
When we meditate on the things of God, we can better, “get his email?” When the worries of life are all you and I are thinking and talking about. When politics, Hollywood and neighborhood rumor mills are all we have to share. When our negative opinions of people become more important than praying for said people, we’ve got a problem. We need to meditate on the things of God. Kindness, compassion, caring, Love, Joy, Peace.
If this is something you struggle with, perhaps lack of peace keeps you up at night and you find meditation hard, perhaps you could use some assistance. My good friend, Johnathon provided content for an app called ABIDE. It may give you insight and peace.
I find that for myself I have remove the things that are not
“…true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, any excellence, worthy of praise.”
Limiting the amount I view news stories and Youtube videos with titles like “So and so SLAMS so and so over saying dumb stuff!” For one, that’s such a click-baity thing to title your article of video. And two, it feeds into my already negative thoughts. So for me, that’s probably best left unclicked. Even if people say and do dumb stuff, I don’t need to spend my limited time on this earth hearing someone else’s sassy reaction to the dumbness.
Question: What things do you need to cut out of your life that are the opposite of what Paul says in Philippians?
I do believe cutting things out like that are the first step to being open to the filling of God with Godly, pure and helpful thoughts.
Lord willing, we will be back next week with an audio recording of the Palm Sunday Message. Thanks for taking the time to read and contemplate this post. I want to encourage you to not only think about your responses to my questions but also write them in the comments below.
What comes to mind when you hear the word: “Righteous”?
For me it’s Surfer dudes. Hear me out… If you’ve ever seen Finding Nemo, You’ll know that the story is about a clown fish seeking all over the ocean to find his missing son. He is befriended by Sea Turtles with a stereotypical “surfer-dude” accent. When all the turtles and the main character fish go through a fast-moving jet stream…the turtle shouts, “Righteous! Righteous!!!” Though this use of the word seems to work well for the sea turtle, it’s not exactly what we are looking for.
In the average vernacular, I’d suggest that we hear it in connection with negative connotation. “She’s just so self-righteous! I can’t stand her!”
Today we take a look at the topic of The Lord our Righteousness. It’s found in Jeremiah. That’s in the Old Testament. Let’s discover together what Yahweh Tsidqenu really means.
Once upon a time in Texas, I worked on staff with a Sr. Adult Pastor named Joni. She and her husband Rick were kind and helpful. Once or twice, our family went out to their property in the country. And that’s when we saw them. Big, wooly, silly Sheep. They had 2-3 at their place, occasionally in a medium sized fenced-in spot in the back. But other times the sheep would roam around. At least one of their sheep they had had since it was a lamb. In fact I heard that when this sheep was just a little lamb, they brought it to church and the lead pastor there used it as a visual aid during the Lenten season. That lamb grew up on Joni and Rick’s land, along with other sheep and various animals. To my knowledge, they only wanted to care for them, not eat them. The other sheep were rescue sheep. Sometimes, people couldn’t care for or feed their sheep, so they’d just abandon them. Rick and Joni were ready to add a couple sheep to their flock.
Their kind and compassionate way reminds me of our Shepherd, Yahweh Roi “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Today we are continuing with our series, “Praying the Names of God.” We’ve looked at the topic of prayer, Looked at The Lord being The Almighty Creator, The Healer, The Provider. But the depth of our relationship with this great, big God is well illustrated when we look at a Shepherd and His sheep. Much in the bible has been written about and alluded to The Lord being our shepherd. The most obvious place to begin is Psalms 23.