God's Word Will Stand

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A couple of weeks ago, I was doing a deep clean and rearranging of my office. When I say I was cleaning, I mean I went through every shelf, cabinet, and drawer, including my many filing cabinets. Over the course of my twelve years as a writer, I had accumulated an unbelievable amount of information about various writing tactics, programs, sources, and the like. As I waded through the material during my recent office cleanse, I realized that most of the stuff was outdated. So much has changed in the writing world, especially when it comes to online factors, that the information was useless. I can’t tell you how many trash bags I filled with papers and programs that were no longer relevant.

We live in a changing world, and what used to be the latest and greatest is now considered antiquated. Remember Myspace or the coveted phrase, “You’ve got mail”? What was once the norm is now being outdone or overrun. Such is life in a rapidly changing world.

But I am so thankful that when everything else around me is changing, I can know God’s Word will never change. The information contained within the precious pages of my Bible will never be outdated, irrelevant, or useless. The content was valuable 2,000 years ago, and it’s still priceless today. The Word of God is forever settled and will always nourish the spiritual man. And no matter what other trends may come or go, the Scriptures will never fade away.

I don’t know about you, but that knowledge gives me peace and security when everything around me is in a state of transition because I can trust that, no matter what’s happening in life, I can count on God’s Word. His promises are true. He is faithful. And His Word will stand the test of time.

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
— Isaiah 40:8

Confidence Based on the Word of God - A Series on Confidence, Part 14

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Those of you who have followed my writing for any amount of time know how much I enjoy the legends of Camelot.  Valiant knights on faithful steeds.  Damsels in distress.  Enemies to be vanquished and dragons to be slain.  Excitement.  Adventure.  Romance.  These legends have it all!

One of the things I love and hate most about the legends is that no two accounts are the same.  The characters vary.  The relationships change.  The hows and whys are different.  Yes, each account weaves its tale based on hearsay passed down through the generations.  While these various stories offer excitement and intrigue, they do little to establish the truth.  Was there a Camelot?  Did King Arthur exist?  If so, which (if any) of the tales are true?  

The fact is, we simply can't believe everything we hear or see.  Pick up the newspaper--or better yet, the tabloids--and you'll see man's attempts to twist (and sometimes even invent) newsworthy stories.  They can't be believed.  Sure, some of the stories may be true, but when only a small percentage are accurate and the rest are lies or conjecture, how are we supposed to be confident in any of it?  What's the old saying?  Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.
— Psalm 119:49

Fortunately, when it comes to the Word of God, we can put away the question marks.  There's no need to comb through it, trying to distinguish truth from lies.  Every word is true.  Every fact is fact.  Every prophecy has or will come to pass.  And every promise can be claimed.  While we may not understand everything in the Scriptures, we can be assured that it contains the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

No other book has stood the test of time.  No other collection of prophecies has proved more accurate.  No other volume claims God (Truth itself) as the author.  Within its pages, we can see our past, present, and future.  We find comfort, encouragement, inspiration, and direction.  It is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path.  It offers help in the time of need, guidance in times of crisis and hope in the midst of heartache.  And on it, we can stand firm, secure in its truth.

One of the most important things I learned about being a teacher is the same lesson I tried to pass on to others who followed in my wake.  A confident teacher doesn't need to have all the answers, but she must be able to know where to find the answers.  The same holds for a confident believer.  We don't need to have all the answers, but we should know where to find them and how to direct others to the answers.  Let's turn to our Bibles more often than we call on Google, Siri or Alexa.  It has more to offer and is relevant for today.  And because of its truth, we can be confident.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
— Romans 15:4

What Difference Does It Make? (Repost)

In my daily Bible reading, I've come around again to Psalm 119, and as usual, I have mixed feelings.  On the one hand, I love the Psalms, and I enjoy the many golden nuggets to be found in each chapter. On the other hand, I know that I have a tendency to get bogged down in those 176 verses and also to be convicted by them.

The theme of Psalm 119, if you don't know or couldn't guess, is the Word of God.  In fact, the Scriptures are referred to in one word form or another (precepts, testimonies, commandments, etc.) in all but four verses of the entire chapter.  But it's what the psalmist has to say about the Word that's so convicting.

As I read through the chapter this week, one thought kept coming to mind--if all God's people felt this way about God's Word, how different would things be?  When was the last time we craved the Bible?  Have we rejoiced in it?  Have we meditated on it?  Have we delighted in it?  Have we memorized it, shared it or fallen in love with it?  When was the last time we chose the Word of God over riches, fame or selfish desires?  The psalmist said multiple times within chapter 119 alone that the Scriptures made him alive, but if that's the case today, why are so many of us walking around with our heads down and shoulders slumped?

Yes, when I read this chapter, I'm both humbled and ashamed.  It is a glaring reminder that I don't love and respect the Bible as I should.  I take it for granted and fail to treat it with the glory and honor that it deserves.  I fear that if I were to ask, many of you would say the same thing.  Could that be why we do not see revival like we used to?  Could that be why our churches are not on fire like they once were?  Could that be why we're so complacent to just "live and let live"?

May I be blunt with you? Today is Independence Day here in America, and as a nation, we celebrate how far we've come.  Unfortunately, many of us also cringe at how far we've fallen.  Our Christian nation is Christian no more.  We are being destroyed from within, and I fear it will only get worse unless the Lord comes back very soon.

That being said, the reason our country is in such a mess is because our churches, as a whole, are in a mess.  They're more concerned with rules and guidelines, dress codes and ceremonies, tickling ears and making friends than they are about standing up for the truth.  And the reason the churches have slipped so far is that the people who make up those churches have lost all love and reverence for the Word of God.  Perhaps if we had a few attitude adjustments and started taking God seriously, we would see a change in our lives, our churches and our country.

If you're unsure how exactly you should feel about and treat the Scriptures, turn to Psalm 119 and read a while.  Pay attention to each verse.  Meditate on what it's saying.  Then ask yourself, "Am I as devoted to the Word of God as I should be?"  Then say with the psalmist,

O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!  Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. (vs.5-6)

What difference does it make?  All the difference in the world!

Whitewater Rafting, Part Five - A Repost

"Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink!" We've all heard that saying, right? You truly understand it when you go whitewater rafting.

I had some white tea with my breakfast at 7:00 in the morning. To cut down on bathroom stops, I didn't drink anything after that. When we arrived in Nantahala, everything happened so fast, and the next thing I knew, we were rafting. Obviously, it was too late to get anything to drink at that point. (Besides, with an 8-mile trip down the river and being a person who has to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes or so, I thought it would be wise to stay away from beverages of all types.)

I was so thirsty!!!!!! It was a warm, sunny day. We were surrounded by water, and all I could think was, I'm so thirsty . . . and I still have to go to the bathroom!

Now, I suppose I could have drunk some water out of the river. In fact, I thought about it, but when I saw a group of kids on the bank pull a huge snake from the water, I realized I wasn't THAT thirsty. As the day wore on, I thought I was going to die of thirst! Finally, it was lunchtime.

The beverage served at lunch was Gatorade. I am not a big fan of Gatorade, but that day, it might as well have been water from Heaven. I guzzled down two glasses and then reminded myself that I had a three-hour van ride through the mountains, so I might want to take it easy. (In case you're wondering, no, it didn't help. I still had to go to the bathroom. Plus, we got caught in a traffic jam, causing the trip to take an extra 30-45 minutes. KILL ME!!!!!)

Anyway, the entire situation reminded me of how we surround ourselves with so many things that seem important, yet we suffer daily from spiritual dehydration. We have our jobs, our families, our friends, our churches, our various ministries, our dreams, and on and on. We have our great intentions and our work for the Lord. We're completely surrounded by demands, desires, and obligations. But our hearts are dry. We're doing all the right things, but we're not necessarily doing them for the right reasons.

I'm reminded of Martha in the Bible. She was busy. She was surrounded by duty, obligation, and a desire to serve. In fact, she was surrounded by Jesus and his followers. But, spiritually, she was dry. As Joanna Weaver put it in her book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, Martha opened her home, but she didn't open her heart. She was doing a good thing, but she was so busy, she didn't take the time to be blessed. Jesus told her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things; But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:41-42)

Doing the Lord's work is a wonderful thing. Being involved in various church functions or other ministries is great. The Lord desires our service, but He wants it with a servant's heart. The only way to get that is to spend some time refreshing our soul with the water of the Word. How can we tell others the Good News if we are so spiritually dehydrated that we can't even remember why we're serving? It has become a habit instead of an act of devotion. God doesn't want that. He doesn't want to see our souls die of spiritual thirst. That's why He gave us His Word.

Drink! Drink deeply! Drink so deeply that it overflows and refreshes others as well. We have no excuse. The water has been provided. It is our choice whether or not we drink. (And best of all, this water won't make you have to go to the bathroom!)