Does reading Scripture feel like a detox diet, where nothing tastes good, but you choke down the foods because they’re healthy?
Do you recognize nothing is sinking in as your eyes glaze over the words and pages?
As a new Christian, I rode the bus to work every day with my head buried in my pocket Bible, underlining passages as they jumped off the page. I memorized verses and bought multiple translations, commentaries and other resources.
When we go through something that is painful and not changing, it’s easy for the enemy to whisper the thought that God loves us according to our performance. When our child is off course, or we’re facing a financial setback, or our marriage is in trouble, we’re prone to think that it’s because we’ve done something wrong or that we’ve just not been good enough. Too often we think, “God, why me? What have I done to deserve all these negative things?” We’re viewing the difficulties in our life as a reflection of the way God loves us. We’re saying, “God, when I do right, You love me. When I miss the mark, You get mad at me.”
“He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.” – Psalm 107:20
The man accused of breaking into US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home, beating her husband, and seeking to kidnap her told police he planned to target other California and federal politicians, according to a court filing yesterday. The filing quotes David DePape as telling officers and medics at the scene that he was sick of the “lies coming out of Washington DC.” He added: “I didn’t really want to hurt him but you know this was a suicide mission. I’m not going to stand here and do nothing even if it cost me my life.”
It might be hard to imagine that a phrase like soli Deo gloria could be misunderstood or misapplied. To God alone be the glory. What could be unclear or mistaken in those six simple words?
Fortunately, the main burden of the phrase is wonderfully and profoundly clear. Our generation (and, to be fair, every generation before us and after us) desperately needs to be confronted with such God-centered, God-entranced clarity.
Every Tuesday night for dinner, Nancy and I met for our discipleship time.
She was a teacher in the town I lived in and we had met at church. When I first met Nancy I could tell she was struggling in her relationship with God. We talked at length one night about several issues that were bothering her. She wasn’t sure she was a Christian, not sure why she was often downcast and without joy, and really not sure how the Bible applied to her life.
It’s easy to get so caught up meeting other people’s needs and measuring up to their expectations that we put ourselves on the back burner. There are the demands of work, spending time with your spouse, the pressures of raising children, running to the grocery store, the maintenance of the house, and friends who are counting on you. We develop a hero mentality where we can’t let anyone down. We always have to be strong, always come through, cheer everyone else up, fix the problems, and stay late.
We operate under the tagline, “The Bible. We want everyone to get it.” According to statistics from Wycliffe Global Alliance, 1.51 billion people, speaking 6,661 languages, do not have a full Bible in their first language. The journey to know God cannot progress far without access to God’s Word. Access to His truth is one of the most important steps in a lifetime journey, but there are other facts that determine whether the journey ends in the Kingdom of God.
“Would you please, please come with me? I really want you to be there. All the other moms are going.”
My daughter was pleading with me to volunteer at field day for her kindergarten class. How could I deny such an earnest request? But since I couldn’t navigate the outdoors without assistance, I had to say no once again. She nodded her head understandingly when I explained why — she was used to disappointment. She didn’t know how much I wanted to go, how I longed to connect with her at school, or how guilty I felt that she was missing out.
In the darkness of early morning I reached over and turned off the alarm clock.
I slipped out of the warm bed, nursing a familiar feeling of dread as I picked up my robe and slippers. I made my way out of our room and down the stairs.
Once in the kitchen, I made my cup of tea and then crept down the basement steps. The cold of the concrete floor made its way through the soles of my slippers. I put my tea down on a table and threw a load of wash into the machine.
Don’t be surprised today when the enemy uses other people to judge you, to leave you out, to discount you, to make you feel unqualified and not good enough. The enemy works so hard to tear down your sense of value and worth because he knows it will take away your sense of purpose. He even tried it in Jesus’ life. After Jesus had been baptized in the Jordan River and God the Father had spoken, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” the enemy said to Him in the wilderness temptation, “If You are the Son of God…” The enemy tried to move in on Jesus’ needs and get Him to question His identity and His purpose. He tried unsuccessfully to bring in confusion and get Jesus to question His value and worth.