bits from bob....
Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1). This means that Jesus is God's communication. He is God's logic; he is the one that makes sense of the world. The Bible is the Word of God. The Bible is God's communication to his human creation. These two truths suggest that God has revealed himself to us in a living word (Jesus Christ) and in a written word (the Bible). Both intend to reveal God to us. In one sense, the written word is the story of the living word. These two communications from God are not inconsistent, but are consistent. Our focus on the message of the written word of God must not detract from the importance of the living word. Nor can one ignore the written word in favor of focusing only on the living word. Finally, God is not giving us facts, instruction, and laws. He is revealing himself to us. Jesus makes the Father known. The Bible is the revelation of God.
The focus of this article is on the written word of God. Here are seven disciplines or activities that can bring us closer to God through his Word.
Read God's word
This is not just verbal-the focus is not only on what is written down. God is not asking "what think of my book?" God is asking "what do you think of me?" God wants us to know him. Do you want to read God's word? Do you know the difference in reading and studying? Can you simply read, without studying and trying to learn something new? Can we avoid being amost those who are "always learning but never coming to the truth"?
Study God's word
There is a place for studying God's word. Reading is one activity; study is another. We must be students of God's word. Are you a student of the Word, or a student of someone else's interpretation of the Word? When we study God's word, in a unique way the Holy Spirit lives in us and he will guide and help us. God has a plan for your life. God has a way for you. God has a plan for your ministry. Studying God's word keeps an eye on applications and help for life.
Memorize God's word
The Bible can be as a fire within us (Psalm 34; Jeremiah 20). David said that he hid God's word in his heart (Psalm 119:11). In the face of temptation, Jesus quoted the Word of God (Matthew 4). Memorizing God's word is a way to know the heart of God. If we do not know heart of God, it may be because we are not spending time in his Word. For most, memorizing God's word requires accountability. Can you memorize two verses each week? The pursuit of ministry can overtake the pursuit of God. Grab onto God's word.
Meditate on God's word
Chew it, digest it, let the Holy Spirit teach you through the word. Have the Word available for life; think it through. Read it through regularly. Every time you see it, it will be fresh and different. The Word applies to life, wherever you may be.
Pray the Word of God
Praying the Word of god will lead to prayers of humility with open confession, submission, and obedience. Give yourself the opportunity for repentance and confession. Learn the humility of requests, petitions, and intercession. Paul asked people to pray for him. We must learn to intercede. Praying the word of God will put us in touch with the needs of others. We have the opportunity to get in touch with God through his Word. How many people do you pray for each day? How many people pray for you each day? The average response to these questions is "three or less". We are under-prayed for and we under-pray for others. God will have his way when we see the strength in numbers. This is God's power within us. An Old Testament example of this kind of prayer is in Exodus 17 when those on either side were holding up Moses' hands. What was the plan? The plan was for intercession-lift up your hands for others in the work of God. We all need intercessors. We need someone on the hill praying for us regardless of how strong we may be. A primary thing we need in ministry is prayer. Why would we live prayerless lives? Why would we encourage others to live prayerless lives on our behalf?
Listen to God, Hear the Word of God
We live too fast; we live in a 90 mph culture. The most important thing in life is not speed but direction. We need to consult our spiritual compass. We must learn to get quiet before God and listen. When are these precious times in your life-in the middle of night, the focus is not on what I need to do, but the focus is asking "what about God?" Listening to God gives us opportunity to focus; we need listening times. I encourage times of personal retreat-perhaps a day or part of a day each month, in addition to regularly listening to God's Word. You could use a whole day listening to God, recharging and refueling. Let us learn to listen to God, to be hearers of the word and not only doers.
Personalize the Word of God
Personalizing the word of God takes us outside corporate worship. When is it just you and God? Personal worship enhances our spiritual lives; personal worship enhances corporate worship. Those who lead in corporate worship should have first experienced private, personal worship. We were created for God's glory. When we get out of bed, our question should be how and when we will spend quality one-on-one time with God today. Out of that commitment and relationship flows authentic Christian living. When I personalize the word of God, I attribute worth to God. Personal worship is as love notes and prayers to God! Learn to give God majesty and splendor.