What Will I Do With the Word?

What will I do with the Word? Its interesting to watch what people do with their Bibles. Walk through any parking lot and you might notice a Bible stored away on someone’s dash.

One of my earliest memories was of my Great great Aunt Edith’s Bible collection. In every room of her house, there was a Bible prominently displayed. We tend to arrange our rooms around a television or around a computer or around a dinner table. Her entire house seemed to be arranged around the Bible. Coincidentally, it seemed that her life was as well.

I wonder how our lives are arranged? Is our daily and weekly schedule just happenstance? If there is a planning or budgeting of time, I wonder if God has any place in our planning?

Jesus instructed us “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Paul exhorted us to make the best use of the time (Ephesians 5:16). One of the first women to greet the new baby Jesus in the Temple was a prophetess named Anna. The Bible described her this way: “She never left the temple, serving night and day with fasting and prayers” (Luke 2:37).

When we seek to make the best use of our time, we are trying to fill it with the best possible thoughts and actions. Can we find anything better than God, God’s Word, and God’s work? Shouldn’t God be the dominant theme of our moments, our minutes, our days, and our lives?

“I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord.” 

 

Softly and Tenderly, Jesus is Calling

Just a few miles north the city of Nashville and the world of Country Music gathered to watch the Country Music Awards show. With the recent mass shooting at a country music concert in California, many wanted to express their condolences to the families who were hurt and to the country as a whole.

One of the highlights of the evening was Carry Underwood’s performance of “Softly and Tenderly.” During the song she became so emotional that she stopped singing. The song is a wonderful expression of the invitation which continues to be offered by God’s people on behalf of Christ–come home.

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me./

Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?

Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
Coming for you and for me.

O for the wonderful love He has promised,
Promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,
Pardon for you and for me.

Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

Much of the public spectacle is rabidly anti-Christian. But when tragedy strikes, people turn to God for help. As another song says, “where could I go, but to the Lord.?” The key to being prepared for tragedy is to be with God  before tragedy strikes. This is the only way to find true security.

 

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.

 Romans 5:1–2.

God’s Glory

The “glory of God” is a phrase often used but rarely defined. In the Old Testament the “glory of God” often refers to his presence. The glory of God refers to his presence with his people (Exodus 29:43; 40:34-35; Leviticus 9:23; Numbers 14:10; 2 Chronicles 5:14; Ezekiel 8:4). In Paul’s letters it is easy to see “God’s glory” as a reference to his necessary characteristic of faithfulness.

We should not try to narrow the meaning down too much. Instead, we should appreciate the different facets of meaning in the phrase as they are emphasized in different places. However, the emphasis of God’s faithfulness and God’s presence are typically at the forefront.

For an example we note Paul’s words in Romans 6:4, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Note that Christians are raised “through the glory of the Father.” There we see God’s presence and God’s character working in full force.

If we are to pursue God’s glory, we must therefore be present with him and be faithful to him. Paul wrote, “we exult in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). God’s glory, his presence and his faithfulness, should be what we seek. Let us continue to strive for his glory every day. Let us strive to be present with God every day. Let us strive to be faithful to God every day.

 

 

Reformation

Fiver hundred years ago on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther lit the fire of the Reformation Movement. While many individuals and groups had tried to make corrections in the past, the nailing of his 95 Thesis to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany brought the problems to the forefront of public discussion.

Just as those individuals needed reform, we need to be constantly reforming our lives. The Bible presents several reforms among God’s people.

“Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all.”—2 Chronicles 31:1.

Reform has to be continual in our hearts all the time. Just as there were idols to be torn down in the Old Testament, there are idols in our heart which must continuously be torn down. Sometimes, our renovations begin, not with idolatry, but with false practices which must be corrected.

Reform also has to do with what must be built or established. When Josiah’s time of reform began, they discovered the Word of God in the Temple. What sort of building reforms need to be made in our hearts and religious practices? Are we reading, worshiping, serving, living by faith as God would have us to be?

What can we do to reform our lives? What can we do to reform our hearts? What can we do to reform our minds?