“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.” Deuteronomy 6:6
A quick read through the Old Testament leaves no doubt that God wants His people to take His Word seriously. The Jews were told to write the commands on their doorposts and teach them to their children. They wore phylacteries—leather pouches that contained God’s commands—bound to their left hand and forehead. I suppose it would be like writing verses on Post-it notes and sticking them on yourself! And while most of us would not be ready to do that, the point is clear—God’s people take His Word seriously when it comes to living by its standards.
The psalmists had a good handle on this. In fact, the very first psalm recorded for us paints a clear picture of the value of God’s Word. It says that the key to a blessed life involves meditating on God’s Word day and night (Psalm 1:2).
Unfortunately, the value of meditation has been lost on modern Christians, perhaps because we have allowed the New Age movement to steal the word from our vocabulary. But all through Scripture we are called to meditate on the Word and works of God—to stop long enough to smell the biblical roses. To get alone, be quiet, and take it all in. To run His words through our minds over and over again.
If you’re among those who love God’s Word, here’s how to give it the VIP treatment in your heart.
Visualize it. Take a relevant principle from Scripture and visualize what it would look like if you lived it out. What would be the outcome of praying for your enemies? What if you gave your money to a worthy cause rather than buying that thing you’ve been wanting? Think about what it would look like if you lived out God’s Word.
Internalize it. The best way to meditate on God’s Word is to memorize it. When we get it inside our heads, it enables the Spirit to bring it to mind in “clutch” situations.
Personalize it. Don’t just think of the Scripture in vague terms, but insert personal pronouns and pray the passage back to God using “I” and “me” so that His Word is directed right to your heart.
Soon you will find yourself saying with the psalmist, “Oh how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:97).
Coming on the Clouds of Heaven
By: Curt selles,today.reframemedia.com
Scripture Reading — Mark 14:53-62
You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven. — Mark 14:62
Do you know the word nadir? It means “the lowest point.” It’s hard for us to recognize our own nadir, since it may seem that things can always get worse. Though most of us don’t use this word every day, it fits this scene in Mark’s gospel. This scene shows the world’s condemnation of the Savior promised through the Jesse Tree.
God loved the world so much that he sent his only Son to seek and save the lost. The people living in darkness, however, didn’t recognize God’s Son. In fact, they condemned him to die a shameful death on a cross, here in this scene in the high priest’s courtyard.
But in this rock-bottom moment in history, Jesus himself points beyond his humiliation and death to an entirely different future, to his glorification. When the high priest asks him if he is indeed “the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One,” Jesus responds, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Here we have the full story of the Jesse Tree. It points to Christmas, which points to Easter, when Jesus rose from the dead. And Easter points to the second coming of Jesus on the clouds of heaven to live with us forever (Revelation 21–22).
Do you believe in this Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Is he the Lord of your life?
Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13 ESV
Not all steel is the same. Some special grades are distinguished by being called “hardened steel” because they undergo intense heat treatment. As a result, this steel lasts much longer and can be used in more extreme settings.
Many other materials can be “hardened.” This takes place in the kitchen as foods are changed into more solid forms. Hardening takes place in the body as blood vessels harden and no longer are responsive.
The Bible tells us that hardening is a spiritual term. Ideally, we are to be soft and pliable, sensitive to the Spirit, ready to be changed as God directs. But we also can be hardened. This means resisting God’s work, being set in our ways and blind to our weaknesses.
The Bible warns that we can be “hardened” by the deceitfulness of sin. The Greek word indicates that we can become stubborn, obstinate, and refuse to recognize the need to change.
This is the impact sin can have on our hearts and minds. Specifically we can be deceived into thinking that certain acts or thoughts are harmless or even beneficial. But they can make it harder for us to see the truth, to serve God, and to have the right perspective.
Be on guard against the deceitful impact of sin. Surrender your heart and mind to Jesus. Make Him your Lord. Seek to remain sensitive to the Spirit. Be a source of encouragement to others.
The faultless assembly
By: Charles Spurgeon
“They are without fault before the throne of God.” Revelation 14:5
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:17-22
We need not go far without seeing that there is, among Christians, a want of love to one another. There is not too much love in our churches; certainly, we have none to give away. We have heard that:
“Whatever brawls disturb the street,
There should be peace at home.”
But it is not always as it should be. We have known churches where the members can scarcely sit down at the Lord’s table without some disagreement. There are people who are always finding fault with the minister, and there are ministers finding fault with the people; there is among them “a spirit that lusteth to envy,” and “where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” We have met with people among whom it would be misery to place ourselves, because we do not love war; we love peace and charity. Alas! How continually do we hear accounts of disputings and variance in churches! O beloved, there is too little love in the churches! If Jesus were to come amongst us, might He not say to us, “This is My commandment, that ye love one another; but how have you kept it when you have been always finding fault with one another? And how ready you have been to turn your sword against your brother!” But, beloved, “they are without fault before the throne of God.” Those who on earth could not agree, are sure to agree when they get to heaven. There are some who have crossed swords on earth, but who have held the faith, and have been numbered amongst the saints in glory everlasting. There is no fighting amongst them now; “they are without fault before the throne of God.”
For meditation: The very best of Christians may have fallen out with one another (Acts 15:39), but the Bible entreats disputants to agree in the Lord (Philippians 4:2). It is beautiful when brothers dwell in unity (Psalm 133:1), but perplexing when they wrong each other (Acts 7:26). May God help us to do “on earth as it is in Heaven.”