97: "Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long." - Each passage we read opens a world of new possibilities and hope.
101: "I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word." - This can only be done through constant meditation on God's word, otherwise, the pathways of life will lead us hither, wither, and yon.
102: "I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me." - The Holy Spirit Himself opens our hearts and minds to the Truth so that we may learn, grow, and understand.
103: "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" - God's word is not simply for intellectual stimulation; it becomes the sustenance for life.
104: "I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path." - Wrong paths lead us from God so as we gain understanding of God's perfect will, the last thing we want to do is stray from His love.
Points to Contemplate:
Do you love the Bible?
Do you meditate on its message all day long? Do you mark, highlight, and write in its pages the passages that have touched you deeply? Are these markings beginning to fill the pages? Have you ever returned to familiar verses only to find new meaning and new ways of applying them to your life? Have you found that the more you study the more you come to understand how deep God's love is for you? Has any other book or source of information provided you the depth and breadth of meaning you have gained from studying the Bible?
Have you departed from God's laws? Have there been times in your life when you have ceased studying and have set the Bible on a shelf to gather dust? What have you found happens when you do this? Do you cease growing? Do you wander? Have you followed paths that have led you into difficult and trying situations? Did you become frustrated and lost? Angry? Selfish? Confused? Did you lose hope? Was joy a mere memory of the past? Did peace disappear? Was there love?
Do you rely on the Holy Spirit to teach and guide you in your studies? When you have read a difficult passage from the Bible that causes confusion and consternation, have you gone into prayer and asked for the Spirit to fill your heart? Have you prayed that God will expand your horizons? Have you asked Him to reveal His truth and provide you with understanding? When you do this what happens? Have you experienced a sudden epiphany and new insight? Has God ever sent you a steady stream of examples and teaching moments that slowly, over tme, open your heart to the depths of understanding you seek? Do you steadily "gain understanding from (His) precepts?" As you do, do you begin to recognize the wrong paths and steer clear of their lure? Promise of the Gospel:
Today's verses hold special meaning to me, the writer of these daily reflections. For over two years, I have been sitting with the Bible in my hand, seeking its truth, and searching ways to describe the insights that are available in its passages. The Lectionary verses provide a great template for study because they take us deep into the Bible and reveal passages that otherwise we might skip or glean over. The writing of these devotionals has forced me to find ways to unveil God's truth in every passage I read. I do not have the luxury of skipping one that eludes me. I can assure you it is only from the guidance of the Holy Spirit that the words for these devotionals have come. If it were solely up to me and my "wisdom," this project would have never left the ground. But it is not just the words that have landed on these pages that are important. The growth that God has personally seen accomplished within me over the past two years has been amazing. The Lectionary has provided me a personal stepping stone into discipleship. It is my prayer that you have also experienced God's transforming love as you daily meditate on the issues brought forth through His guiding Spirit and the study of His Word. May God continue to bless and guide you in every aspect of your life.