Saturday, January 28, 2012

Psalm 19:7 – 14 “How to have devotions”

Psalm 19:7 – 14 “How to have devotions”

Devotions – time alone with God in prayer and reading the Bible.

***** Devotional Bible reading is different than Bible study.  It is looking for a “heart – word” from God.  It is relational in focus rather than “practical” or “intellectual.”

 1.        Ever struggle with devotions?

            a.         The “struggle:”
                        1.)        Some people struggle having devotions. 
                        2.)        Others struggle with the significance of devotions.
            b.         Reality:
                        1.)        “This book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book.”

[NOT exactly correct… Fact: your relationship with God is often reflected in the time and effort you put into the Bible.  When your relationship is weaker the struggle is greater.]

                        2.)        “Busy” Does it seem that life start early and fast?

[Fact: you have time for what you make time for BECAUSE that is your priority.]

2.         So how do we have devotional Bible reading?

[Note: Psalm 19:1 – 6 is about “general revelation”… it is what everyone can know by looking at creation.  Psalm 7 – 11 is about “special revelation”… what is known through the Bible.  Psalm 19:12 – 14 is our response to what we know.]

            a.         Understand exactly what the Bible is:

                        1.)        [v 7] It is “perfect.” Literally: “entire” or “whole” or “complete.” It is spotless and harmless, as being absolutely well-meaning, and altogether directed towards the well-being of man. [K&D]
                        2.)        [v 7] It is “trustworthy.” It carries the idea of “certain,” “permanent,” “to support,” and “to nourish.”
                        3.)        [v 8] It is “right.” Meaning they are straight, upright, correct.
                        4.)        [v 8] It is “radiant.”
                        5.)        [v 9] It is “pure.”
                        6.)        [v 9] It is “firm.”         

            b.         Understand exactly what the Bible does:

                        1.)        [v 7] It revives, restores, and refreshes the soul.

Discovering the nature and will of God, the duty of people, the belief and practice for happiness now and into eternity… is like a cold drink of water on a hot day (or in our present case a hot chocolate on a cold day).

It is the point were the damage done by sin is undone as we turn to God through the Bible.  Reason and enlightened philosophy do NOT work (as someone claimed this week).  It is the work of God, through the Bible that transforms us.

                        2.)        [v 7] It makes wise the simple.

Teachable disciples continuing to walk in the instruction of the Bible… we have the movement from simple to mature!

                        3.)        [v 8] It gives joy to the heart.

Revived (KJV “converted”) then made wise… now rejoicing in that progress!  Sin and guilt are the curse of sin but the redeemed of the Lord, freed from sins terrorism, has joy!

                        4.)        [v 8] It gives light to the eyes.

Many get bogged down in despair… depression can cause us to pursue unsheathing things…  but living in the freedom of God’s Word there is “light.”  We no longer are slaves to sin.  We are no longer blinded by the “god of this age.” 

“Long my imprisoned spirit lay, fast bound in sin and nature's night; thine eye diffused a quickening ray; I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; my chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed thee.” [Charles Wesley “And Can It Be?”]

                        5.)        [v 10” “They are more precious than gold… sweeter than honey.”
Gold is valuable… and shiny.  Honey is sweet… and some claim healing.  We desire the beauty of gold.  We desire the value of gold.  We enjoy the sweetness of honey.  Yet better than all that put together is found in the Bible.
                        6.)        [v 11] “By them your servant is warned.”

Ever notice that just about everything we purchase comes with a warning?  Certainly nobody is that stupid?  REALITY CHECK: when was the last time you complained or grumbled?  The Bible says that “unbelief” and cost a generation of Israel 40 years in the desert… dying.

If you had cancer, would you rather know about it and be able to do something about it?  Did you know that prostate cancer is the biggest risk to men… while colorectal is the third biggest cancer risk to men?  Both are easily treated if caught early enough… but mean don’t get checked… (obvious reason)

            c.         Understand that the Bible makes healthy demands on us.
                        1.)        [v 11] We are reminded that there is “great reward” in keeping the word of God.
So what’s the “reward?”  Eternal life, yes.  Joy now, yes.  But it also seems that we are spared all sorts of agony between here and there.
                        2.)        [v 12] We can be free from the darkness in our lives.

Errors, hidden faults, and the deceitfulness of our hearts all work to our downfall. We struggle in life and not know why. We argue with God and get no place.  Sometimes God gives us the desires of our heart but sends leanness into our soul.

                        3.)        [v 13] We can be free from the slavery of sin.

Willful sin is like an addiction.  It is presumptions BECAUSE we are expect God to forgive us afterwards… the problem is they rule over us and will harden our hearts to God.  They stuff up our ears and make us unwilling to listen.  They make us cover up and protect what ought to be brought out into the light and cleaned up.

3.         Why have devotions?

            a.         We need to deal with two things:

                        1.)        Our mouth.

Jesus said that it was out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks [Matthew 12:24].  James claimed that it corrupts the whole person and sets the whole course of life on fire [James 3:6].

                        2.)        Our heart. [The “will”]

Proverbs tells us “ABOVE ALL ELSE” to guard the heart BECAUSE everything in life comes from it.  Our choices, our attitudes, our emotional responses all come from the heart.

The heart is a picture of who we are… what we put into the heart will change it… and change our attitudes, our behavior, our words… everything.   

            b.         What words and thoughts (meditation) are you programming your heart with?
Are they pleasing and acceptable to the LORD?

4.         Final tips:

            a.         Set aside time… deliberately.  It’s an appointment to keep.
            b.         Pick a place… somewhere with no distractions.
            c.         Start the day with God, end the day with God.
            d.         If you have family make one of those times a family devotions.

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