Meditate on Scripture

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Jesus Trusts and Loves Scripture
The Bible is the foundation of our truth as Christians. This book is so powerful and meaningful, but yet the statistical majority of Christians don’t read it on a regular basis. In a world where truth is relative and sometimes expendable, Scripture is our foundation, and it will always be our foundation when we have questions about who God is and what our purpose is in this world.  If you or someone close to you has some serious doubts and questions about the Bible, or had someone use it to abuse or manipulate you in a painful way, there's an invitation from Jesus, and an outstretched hand to take a hold of his hand and begin this journey of walking with him for the rest of your lifetime. As you grow to love Scripture more and have the Word of God imprinted on your heart, you also have a Christian community of brothers and sisters to walk with you as we dive into the good work of our Father together. Jesus, who we are called to follow with all our lives, deeply loved Scriptures, and he said that words found in the Bible are pivotal for our transformation – making us more and more into the men and women that we were created to be. If Jesus, the son of God, viewed his life and purpose through the lens of Scripture, then we should follow his example. By spending time in the Word, we can practice clearing the stage of our heart for God to move in and do the work that only he can do. Reflection/Discussion Question: How does Jesus's view of the importance of the Bible change your perspective?
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Songs of Worship
The Book of Psalm was written by David, who went from being a lowly shepherd boy who defeated the giant Goliath to being king. We're not told the time in his life that he wrote Psalm 19 or what he may have been experiencing or going through, but we can almost imagine that David is sitting and watching the sun rise over the horizon when he wrote this Psalm. In the first six verses of this Psalm, David spends time simply talking about the beauty of God's natural creation and how God reveals himself through his creation. Starting at verse seven, he pivots, and he begins to talk about how God reveals his power and his beauty through the Scriptures. In verses seven through nine, David uses six different words to describe God's Word in the Bible: law, statutes, precepts, commands, fear, and decrees. At first glance, some of these words can seem a little redundant or even a little repetitive. But when you take the time to study and get into the original Hebrew language, you see the full scope of what's being communicated by David here. Law is the Hebrew word for Torah, which are the 613 commands that we see from Exodus to Deuteronomy. However, over time, Torah became a way to refer to Genesis through Deuteronomy, and then the whole of the Old Testament story of God raising up Israel as he begins to unfold this rescue mission for all of creation that culminates in Jesus. The word for statutes is similar to the Hebrew word for testimony. We might think of a court of law, but this could just be someone's insight or opinion on the validity of something. Precepts are general rules intended to regulate behaviors. The Hebrew word in this case means signpost, so it’s the idea of signs pointing the way in which to walk. Fear means having a reverence, awe, or attention to someone's power. Finally, decree is the Hebrew word that means justice. All six are important ways for God to communicate to his people. Reflection/Discussion Question: What do these very specific six different words communicate to you about Scripture?
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Help in the Darkness
Have you lived your life in pursuit of the next best thing to fill the hole in your heart or to satisfy your earthly cravings and desires, whether it's money, job security, or more stuff? These pursuits have probably left you feeling empty, broken, depressed, or anxious. Scripture will lead you into God's way of living and allow you to experience a truly abundant life, where your heart can be full of joy.  If life seems dark, meaningless, and unclear, the Scriptures will lead you into God's commands. His commands are a radiating light shining out into the darkness -- revealing purpose, value, and the right way to live in a broken and dark world.  Are you in a season or situation where fear is gripping you? Maybe it’s fear of getting fired, or if the economy will recover, or if the check will clear, or if that person will get better, or if the election will go your way, or if you'll just make it through one more day of what you're facing because you feel like you're at the end of the line. Scripture will lead you into a fear and reverence of God that reminds you that he alone is on the throne, and he is in control over everything. The world doesn't fall and rest on your shoulders, and God is carrying you through this life into eternity.  If life's just seems unfair, if it's ripped away your goals, dreams, and the aspirations, if cancer stole the loved one, if disability marks a child, if death and violence have seemed to have won, the Bible will lead you into a reminder of God's justice. Even in the here and now, there's peace for the moment and comfort for the moment in him. And there's a day coming where every tear will be wiped away and there will be no more sickness, mourning, death, evil, or sin. Jesus wins! Reflection/Discussion Questions: Which situation best describes where you find yourself today - fear, injustice, or lack of purpose? How can Scripture change your perspective?
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Starts in the Heart
What comes to your mind when you think of meditation? Maybe it's thoughts of Eastern mysticism or a part of a yoga class. But that's not how the Bible defines biblical meditation. Pastor and author Rich Villodas says this, “Biblical meditation is defined as chewing on the Scripture, and the words, and the truth of God, so that they penetrate our hearts.”  There are two beautiful word pictures that come with meditation from the original Hebrew language. One is of a beautiful resounding song. David is describing that when he reads the Scriptures, there's a song playing in his heart. The other word picture that's given is muttering or musing. Isaiah paints the picture of a lion that is freshly killed its prey, and the lion is so excited to partake in this meal. It's roaring and it's growling with pride over this meal. Whether it's a song in his heart or if he's tasting Scripture in a manner that draws forth this passionate response, David is painting the picture of someone who has learned to sit with in delight in God's Scripture because it's more precious than gold and sweeter than honey from the honeycomb. We, as followers of Jesus in the 21st century, need to know what it means to not just read the Scripture, but what it means to actually meditate on Scripture. Sociologists will tell us we've been hardwired and programmed in our culture to approach information or reading from what is defined as an informational reading response, where we have skim, speed read, and paraphrase. We read in a self-serving or transactional way, and we come to the material to get what we need, and then we leave it behind and move on to what's next. And if we're not careful, like that same mindset can spill into our time with the Bible. Reflection/Discussion Question: What steps do you need to take today to move from informational reading to meditation when it comes to Scripture?