This morning was one of those odd mornings that I woke and I had this idea of what I wanted to write from some passages I read yesterday it was about prayer. But the more I tried the thicker the cloud. Everything was difficult. Nothing was clear.
I prayed and took Jersey Girl, our dog, for a walk, and prayed some more and I began to realize that the truth of it is that today God had a different plan for me. I began to think about the Word of God and the truth and the fact that everything I need to grow in Christ was contained in there. But it was not a text book or a book of instructions it is the living breathing Word of God.
I thought of Genesis 1:1-2
Genesis 1:1-2 (ESV) 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
I thought of John 1:1-5
John 1:1-5 (ESV) 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
I thought of Revelation 22:16-17
Revelation 22:16-17 (ESV) 16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
As these passages ran through my head this morning I was overwhelmed by the fact that Jesus is everywhere in the Word and considered how every day and moments throughout the day I am reminded of passages, maybe not word for word but thought for thought, that help me in moments of stress and in joy always to glorify God. He is my everything and He shows me in His living Word.
One preaching of Paul reminds me of the importance of testing everything against the scriptures. It is the book of Acts in Chapter 17. Paul and Silas left Thessalonica they went to Berea and met with the Jews in the synagogue. I like verses 11-12. Paul even said the Jews of Berea were nobler and explained why.
Acts 17:11-12 (ESV) 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.
He honored these people because they listened, then they confirmed his teachings against the Scriptures. If Paul felt it was important for the people of Berea to test his teachings of the Gospel against the scriptures, shouldn’t we test all teachings we hear as well?
I wondered if he mentioned that anywhere else, so I did a little research and found some examples.
1 Thessalonians 5
In Paul’s final instructions to the Thessalonians first letter he tells them several things to do and in verse 21 he says to test everything against the scriptures.
1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 (ESV) 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
The thing about this letter is it was not written to one person in the church. It was written to everyone in the church.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy as well.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
And in Ephesians 6
The Armor of God is all that comes from Him and His Word.
Ephesians 6:10-20 (ESV) The Whole Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
When I was young my parents took me to church every Sunday and I listened to the minister and I listened to my Sunday school teachers, and I learned the stories enough to recall them and enough to return when I was 52. But I did not study. It was the minister’s job to teach me. I had other stuff to do during the week, and in time those things took priority. After all that minister had taught me all I needed to know. I knew the stories and I knew how to pray when I was in trouble.
But man was I wrong.
52 Years Old
At 52 I came to the Lord after the funeral of a brother in another Motorcycle Club that I was close to. I went to Ninevah and the Holy Spirit punched me in the chest and changed everything.
But for a long time, I was frustrated, because I could not arrange a meeting with Terry Cooper. He was busy or I was busy. I had questions and I felt I needed him to answer them. I got kind of frustrated. But honestly it was as much my fault as Terry’s if not more mine. I was a workaholic, and my life was not my own.
I kept praying and I kept reading the Bible. At this time it was more reading than studying. Then one morning in Kings when God gave Solomon wisdom it was like God punched me in the chest again and said hey. You do not need to talk to Terry. You need to listen to me. I have your answers in this Book. That morning everything changed.
That morning reading turned to prayerful study. My relationship with my Heavenly Father began to grow deeper and deeper, and His Holy Word becoming part of the connection to Him, my everything.
We all need good spiritual leaders. I give thanks for Terry, Chad, Will and Scott every day for the work that they do at my home church. I go to them when I need a sounding board or have a question. But they cannot grow my spiritual relationship with God. They can add some water now and then or cause me to seek answers in God’s Word, but I need to be in God’s Word. I also need others that I can go to and discuss God’s Word to share my thoughts and hear theirs.
I give thanks for God’s Word. I am blown away by the thirst and hunger he gives me for everything that is Him.
Father I pray that you might touch our hearts that our thirst for your word might never be satisfied. I pray that as we are filled to overflowing our need to share become uncontrollable and that we boldly share the Gospel message you have burned into our hearts.
Thank you, Lord, and in Jesus name I pray, Amen!