bits from bob....
The Bible describes Jesus as the Word of God (John 1:1). Jesus came as the living Word from God -- Jesus is God's communication to human beings. Jesus is God's logic (logos); He helps makes sense of the world. The Bible is the written Word of God. The Bible is God's communication to his human creation. These two truths suggest that God has revealed himself to us in a living word (Jesus Christ) and in a written Word (the Bible). Both have the purpose of revealing God to us. In one sense, the written Word is the story of the living Word. These two messages or communications from God are not inconsistent; they are consistent. Our focus on the message of the written Word of God must not detract from the importance of the living Word. Nor can one ignore the written Word in favor of focusing only on the living Word. Finally, integrating these concepts means that God is not primarily giving us facts, instruction, and laws. He is revealing himself to us. Jesus makes the Father known. The Bible is the revelation of God.
The focus of this article is on the written Word of God, the Bible. Here are disciplines that can bring us closer to God through his Word.
Read God's Word
This is not just verbal -- the focus is not only on what is written down. God is not asking, "What do you think of my book?" God is asking, "What do you think of me?" God wants us to know him. Do you want to read God's Word? Do you enjoy it? hunger for it? miss it when you do not read? Do you know the difference in reading and studying? Can you simply read, without studying and without trying to learn something new? Can we avoid being among those who are "always learning but never coming to the truth?"
Study and Understand God's word
There is a place for studying God's word. Reading is one activity; study is another. We must be students of God's Word. Are you a student of the Word, or a student of someone else's interpretation of the Word? Studying the Word of God means seeking to understand the message and the meaning of the Word.
When we study God's Word, seeking both the message and meaning, in a unique way the Holy Spirit that lives in us can guide and help us. God has a plan for your life. God has a way for you. God has a plan for your kingdom service and ministry. Studying God's Word seeks to dig deeper and makes it easier for us to keep an eye on applications and help for life.
Memorize God's word
The Bible can be as a fire within us (Psalm 34; Jeremiah 20). David said that he hid God's Word in his heart (Psalm 119:11). In the face of temptation, Jesus quoted the Word of God (Matthew 4). Memorizing God's word is a way to know and maintain contact with the heart of God. Memorizing Scripture provides daily guidance for life. If we do not know heart of God, it may be because we are not spending time in his Word. For most, memorizing God's Word requires accountability. Can you memorize two verses each week? The pursuit of the Christian life can overtake the pursuit of God. Grab onto God's Word. Memorizing God's Word is a great place to start.
Meditate on God's Word
Chew it, digest it. This is thinking and reflecting on the Word of God. A primary way the Holy Spirit teaches, instructs, and guides you is through the Word. Some seek to be guided by the Spirit but never consult the Word of God. Impossible! The guidance of the Holy Spirit will be consistent with the Word inspired by the Holy Spirit. The guidance of the Holy Spirit will not take us to places the Word does not take us. Have the Word available for life; think it through. Read it through regularly. Every time you spend time in the Word, it will be fresh and different. The Word applies to life -- in every situation and circumstance.
Apply the Word of God
What good is spending time in the Word of God if we do not see applications in our daily lives? Our time in the Word of God is designed to change us, to make us more like Him. We are to be hearers -- we are to be doers. One sister asked, "If Bible teaching or doctrine does not change our lives, what is the value of the teaching or doctrine?"
Pray the Word of God
Praying the Word of God will lead to prayers of humility with open confession, submission, and obedience. Give yourself opportunity for repentance and confession. Learn the humility of requests, petitions, and intercession. Paul asked people to pray for him. We must learn to intercede. Praying the word of God will put us in touch with the needs of others. We have the opportunity to get in touch with God through his Word. How many people do you pray for each day? How many people pray for you each day? The average response to these questions is "three or less." We are under-prayed for and we under-pray for others. God will have his way when we see the strength in numbers. This is God's power within us.
An Old Testament example of this kind of prayer is in Exodus 17 when those on either side were holding up Moses' hands. What was the plan? The plan was for intercession -- lift up your hands for others in the work of God. We all need intercessors. We need someone on the hill praying for us regardless of how strong we may be. A primary thing we need in ministry is prayer. Why would we live prayerless lives? Why would we encourage others to live prayerless lives on our behalf?
Many struggle to pray meaningful prayers. Learning to pray the Word of God has refreshed the prayer life of many Christians.
Listen to God, Hear the Word of God
We live too fast; we live in a 90-miles-per-hour culture. The most important thing in life is not speed but direction. We need to consult our spiritual compass frequently. We must learn to be still before God and listen. Have you experienced this kind of extended time with God and his Word? When were these precious times in your life -- when the focus is not on what I need to do, when the focus is on asking "what about God?" Listening to God gives us opportunity to focus; we need listening times. I encourage times of personal retreat -- perhaps a day or part of a day each month, time in addition to regularly listening to God's Word. You could use a whole day simply listening to God, recharging and refueling. Let us learn to listen to God, to be hearers of the Word and not only doers.
Personalize the Word of God
Personalizing the word of God takes us outside corporate worship. When is it just you and God? Personal worship enhances our spiritual lives; personal worship enhances corporate worship. Those who lead in corporate worship should have first experienced private, personal worship. We were created for God's glory. When we get out of bed, our question should be how and when we will spend quality one-on-one time with God today. Out of that commitment and relationship flows authentic Christian living. When I personalize the word of God, I attribute worth to God. Personal worship is as love notes and prayers to God! Learn to give God majesty and splendor.