Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Psalm 25:8-10, 14

Psalm 25 is an amazing psalm--such an encouragement!  Verses 8-10 and 14 jumped out at me today...
"Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.  He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.  All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies...The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant."
Notice the transition from "sinners" to "humble" to "those who keep His covenant" to "fear Him" and "friendship"!  How wonderful! Reminiscent of Ephesians 2 --we were enemies and aliens, but THROUGH CHRIST we have peace, reconciliation and friendship.  We are now HIS CHILDREN!   
May we never cease to marvel at where we were before we were reconciled and our position now!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thinking like Christians

"When you memorize a verse of scripture, you memorize a thought of God. When you memorize portions of scripture and meditate on it, you begin to think as God thinks."

Every time I read this, I am in awe.  Think as God thinks? What an honor! 
We are supposed to be conformed to the image of His Son and let this mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus!  We are to think like God thinks.

Obviously, we cannot think exactly like God. We are not perfect; we are not infinite; we are not omniscient.  But we can think like a Christian, literally a "little Christ." 

In Romans 12:2, God commands us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.  Don't you want your mind to be made new? Our minds are transformed by reading, meditating on, and memorizing Scripture! How wonderful is that?

When you are reading the Word, do you think of it as the thoughts of God?
When you go over your verses, are you doing it because it reminds you of Bible Bee, or because you love God and want to think like He does?  
When you study a passage, do you ask God to change your way of thinking so that it reflects Him, and not your sinful nature?

May we all have minds as the Lord Jesus, willing to use our hearts, hands, and minds for His glory!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holding On and Moving On

Can you believe that it has already been 12 days since National Bible Bee 2010?

After five months of intense memorization and study in the Word of God, and the roller coaster of emotions which go along with it, there is a sense in which I feel a let down.   I miss it already. 

You all know what it's like, we're all in this together! you look forward to it, dread it, work toward it, anticipate it, experience it...and then it's over.  You are rather dazed, wondering if it really happened or if it was just a dream.  You can grow rather listless and aimless and feel purposeless.

This is how I felt last year and how I'm tempted to feel again this year. Math doesn't bring the same fulfillment as memorizing 1 Peter 1.  Civics is hard to grasp after The Book of Colossians.  Laundry definitely does not fill the place of cross references.

But now that the excitement of the competition has worn off some, I think it is appropriate to consider the "what now?" question. 

So, what now? How can we glean from the many rewards, savoring the memories and lessons learned, and yet not be stuck looking backwards and wishing we were still in the thick of it?

What I have learned about this concept of resisting the "let down" is the principle of holding on to some things and moving on to others.

There are so many things about the Bible Bee to "hold on" to:

-Time in the Word of God - if I added up the hours I spent in the Bible the past five months, the number would be overwhelming!  But I don't want this to be something of the past, but a characteristic of my future.  Through these months, the Word of God has grown precious and essential in my life.  The Spirit has shown me so many new things, but He doesn't just do that through the Bee, He does that through the Bible.  When we come before Him with the same humble, seeking heart, the eyes of are understanding are enlightened.  Even more so now, without the pressure of the competition, we can delve the depths of His Word and rest in His promises!

-Memory of the Word - keep up your verses!  The same verses you have labored over and perfected can too quickly fade from your memory.  Review, review, review.  Ask God to give you the desire to retain them, and the energy to keep them fresh and alive!
But also, learn new material!  The Bible Bee, though a large number of verses, is such a small percentage of the whole Word of God!  Don't let the competition be the only reason you memorize.  Make it a pattern for all of your life!  Now you can choose what you memorize, an epistle, a psalm, a chapter of Genesis?  The Bible is God's treasure chest of HIS TRUTH: there is no wrong choice to memorize as long as you choose something!

-The Friendships made - The fellowship with other believers at the National Bible Bee is incredible!  Keep up with those friends that you met and exchanged email and snail-mail addresses with--they have a like passion for the Word and could be lifelong friends!

Then the things to "move on" to:

-Are there things that you have neglected during Bible Bee that you need to spend time on? A friend you haven't been able to spend time with, a skill or hobby that you can develop, a chore that has started to escape your notice, an attitude that you didn't "have the time" to seek the Lord's help about?  Now, when your heart is tender, make the choice to redeem the time.  Resist listlessness and do good!

-Is there a way you can bless your parents/family for their support and encouragement? How many times have you said thank you? Instead of them resenting your "let-down," demonstrate what the Lord has done in your heart by being cheerful, helpful, and useful.

-Pray!  The Sword Study emphasized prayer so much and often, we must make it our consistent discipline.  Do not lose sight of the power and privilege of being able to come boldly before the throne of the Almighty God, who gives us access because we are His children, justified through Jesus Christ!

Above all, do not let these disciplines become something you just do "during Bible Bee."  The creators of Bible Bee didn't just want to develop a really excellent competition, they wanted to instill in us a passion for the Word of God that would characterize the rest of our lives.  Shelby Kennedy led a consistent, faithful life of service, study, memorization and joy.  Wouldn't it be incredible to be known for the same? Don't you want your life to have the same kind of ripple affect?

Even more importantly, we want everything we do to bring glory and honor to our God, the Author of the Word which we love!  I pray that the National Bible Bee will always be a landmark in each one of our lives, not as a hindrance, but as a jumpstart to our spiritual lives!

Consider and pray what the Lord would have you do.  Do not allow yourself to become a victim of the post-Bible-Bee-blues, but cherish the memories, continue the disciplines, and be faithful in everything the Lord sends your way!

"That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God." Colossians 1:10

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Verse of the Week

"O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. For His mercy endures forever." Psalm 118:1

We have so many things to be thankful for!  But above all, we should be thankful for Who God is!!  His attributes are not just what He is like, they are who HE IS.  He IS Goodness. He IS  Mercy.  He IS Faithfulness.  He IS Patience. He IS Love.
And His mercies toward us never fail; they are new every morning!  Great is His Faithfulness!