What a blessing to be getting to know God better as we read through His Word. I can’t quote my pastor exactly, but in a recent sermon he said something to the effect of, “Trusting God and not fearing comes from having an accurate view of who God is.” As we saw in the book of Job, our view of God can too easily become distorted when we view God through the lens of our experience, rather than viewing our experience through the lens of God’s character, as revealed in His Word.
Old Testament Reflections…
- As we read through Psalms, who are “the wicked”?
- David often refers to His trust in God. Drawing from our readings in earlier books about David’s life, what kinds of experiences likely prompted the words David wrote?
- Psalm 26:3: Am I always aware of God’s unfailing love? When am I most prone to lose sight of His love?
- Psalm 16:11, 26:8, and 27:4 are just a few of the verses that speak of the delight and joy found in God’s presence. Pastor Don said that if we don’t truly believe that life is found in God, we will have difficulty trusting Him. How do I nurture a sense of delight in God? What hinders my sense of delight in God’s presence?
- A few weeks ago, I came across a journal called “Write the Word.” I didn’t actually look at the journal, but it gave me the idea of being a little more intentional about copying verses that I want to spend more time thinking about. Instead of a journal, I have been copying the verses onto Post-its and underlining parts. I can put them where I will see them throughout the day. These are some of the verses I’ve been focusing on:
- Psalm 16:11 (NLT): You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
- Psalm 37:23 (NLT): The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
- Psalm 37:24 (NLT): Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.
- From Psalm 39, I make this my prayer not only for myself, but also for my kids… “Lord, remind me/them how brief our time on earth will be. Remind me/them that our days are numbered—how fleeting our life is…all our busy rushing (ouch…conviction here) ends in nothing…and so…our only hope is in You.
- Psalm 42: When I experience discouragement, what is my first response? What/who do I turn to before turning to the Lord?
- Psalm 43: Is God truly the source of my joy? What/who am I tempted to look to, other than God, for fulfillment in my life?
- Psalm 44: What is the Psalmist’s response when he feels like God has forgotten him? What is my response during such times?
- Psalm 46: How does thinking about God as “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies” and a “fortress” shape my thinking about Him? About my circumstances?
New Testament Reflections…
I will admit that I had to read ahead and finish the book of Acts. Even though I’ve read the book before, I still found the end of each day’s reading to be a little like a cliffhanger in a good mystery! I had to keep going! I was taken not only with Paul’s trust in God in the midst of difficult circumstances but also with Paul’s fervency. He had a “day job” as a tentmaker, yet Paul had a singular focus—serving Christ.
- How focused am I on the mission of serving Christ? What challenges to my focus am I experiencing in this season of life? How can I sharpen my focus?
- What evidence do you see of Paul’s “theology” (i.e., his beliefs about God) in what Paul says? In how he behaves? In how he responds to life’s challenges? What do my own words, behavior, and responses during suffering indicate about my theology? Does what I say align with how I behave and respond?
- Romans 1:8-12: What characteristics are evident in Paul’s relationship with the Roman believers? Are these characteristics true of my relationships with those in our church family?
- Romans 1:20: What qualities of God do I see in God’s creation? What is my response? Worship? Apathy? Too busy to notice? (As an aside…Rob and I were watching a nature show about hummingbirds the other night. What amazing little creatures! How can anyone deny that there’s a Creator???)
- Romans 1:24: “…So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired.” Are these not some of the most chilling words in Scripture? Do I see sin and its powerful effect when left unchecked as the horror that it is? Or am I tempted to whitewash my own sin into something that’s not so bad?
- Romans 2:4: What characteristic of God is intended to turn me from my sin?
Reading tip for familiar passages—try listening to an audio version or re-read the passage in a translation that is less familiar to you.