Recently I heard a story of a young Christian girl who was tricked and sold to a brothel. She was brutally tortured until she agree to serve clients (10-50 a day). For 3 months she persevered through the torture but finally couldnt bear it any longer. For 2 years she was forced to be raped multiple times a day and on the wall in her room she etched Psalm 27:1-3 "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear, though war break out against me, even then I will be confident."
The Lord used international justice mission to rescue this girl and as a result a team went in and raided the brothel, rescuing 20 other girls. Now this girl clings to Psalm 10:17-18 "You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them and you listen to their cry defendign the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.”
Jesus promised us that this life is going to be hard, “in the world you will have trouble, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”(Jn 16:33) And we are going to need comfort. Ps. 119:50 says, “this is my comfort in my affliction…”God’s Word comforted Elizabeth. And if His Word is able to comfort her, surley it can comfort all others.
God’s Word provides the rest we so desperately need in our busy lives. God’s Word comforts us by showing us what is true. It shows us God’s heart and God’s ability. It gives us comfort that leads to hope. Which gives us strength, confidence, eternal perspective, peace, perseverance and courage.
When going up agains Goliath, David found comfort in God’s Word which led to courage, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this philistine.” 1 Sam. 17:37
Or like Jonathan “the Lord is not restrained to save by many or by few.” 1 Sam. 14:6
Job was only comforted by one thing after loosing everything. God’s very Word. Job 38-39 comfort Job and completely change his perspective.
Asher started sucking his finger about a year ago at 2 ½. He saw another little girl doing it and so he tried it. At first I was a bit grateful because he literally never stops talking. When that finger went in… ah, peace. But not long ago I read about if finger/thumb sucking continues into the preschool years it can mess up their mouth. So we started the process of helping him quit his habit.
At first he would go hide, under Eden’s crib or many times under his blankie thinking we wouldn’t see him suck. But the more he hears me remind him to not suck his finger because it is going to hurt him, the more he comes to value what I value. The same is true of us, the more we intentionally read God’s Word, the more we become accustumed to hearing His voice, and therefore the more we become aligned to what He desires, loving what He loves and hating what He hates. His Word not only reveals His character to us, but also His desires for and of us.
When we spend time in God’s Word and store it in our hearts, then in timely ways the Holy Spirit brings Gods word to our minds and speaks to us. His Word, our daily bread, facilitates intimacy with Him. Having experiences day after day of God speaking to us, using His Word as a double edged sword until we are face to face with Him is like storing up bonded moments. So that when we get to heaven and are standing face to face with Jesus it will be like seeing a friend from long ago and you pick up as though you had never be apart. It will be a sense of “I know you… we’ve lived life together.”
We grow in hearing God communicate with us through practice. And the more we are in God’s Word, the more we will recognize His voice. And the more we will be mature, able to discern truth from error. (Heb. 5:16) So here are some tips of how to get the most out of God’s Word:
Read it and ask what stands out to you? Then...
Ask God questions (shows humble heart) and journal your thoughts after you ask Him. Jer. 33:3 Ask Him questions like why does this stand out? What do you mean? Why that way? Then
Speak it. Share what God has shown you. A good way to do this blogging. I love doing that b/c it helps me be quicker to remember and then I can go back and re-read what God taught me.
Meditating on a verse really is pretty cool too. Taking a verse and asking God to teach you and then emphasizing different words. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night…”
Memorize. A disciple is much like a medical student. And in Jesus’ day a disciple of a rabbi knew all his teachers teaching. He had them memorized, like a medical student memorizes what he needs to in order to be a great student and eventually doctor someday. If we are to be disciples of Jesus, we need to get serious and get His teaching in our heads and hearts. I am encouraged when I think of how my little 3 year old has 27 verses memorized.
Apply it. When we actually take what we read and learn and move it through the heart to the hands, we grow. Mere intellectual assent does not = growth. Application takes asking God and using wisdom to think about how to act on what we’ve read. Mt. 7:24 “everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them can be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock”