Day 304: October 31, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

Psalm 119:1-8
1 How happy are those whose way is blameless, who live according to the Lord ’s instruction! 2 Happy are those who keep His decrees and seek Him with all their heart. 3 They do nothing wrong; they follow His ways. 4 You have commanded that Your precepts be diligently kept. 5 If only my ways were committed to keeping Your statutes! 6 Then I would not be ashamed when I think about all Your commands. 7 I will praise You with a sincere heart when I learn Your righteous judgments. 8 I will keep Your statutes; never abandon me.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Journaling to Learn and to Obey God's Word
by Gayle Haywood, Senior Adult/Congregational Care Minister, Brentwood Campus

Have you ever felt so passionate about something that you could not find words to express your feelings? Or perhaps an experience has been so overwhelming it seemed your command of the English language was woefully inadequate to describe your emotions.

The author of Psalm 119 seems to have been in such a position. His love for and devotion to the Word of God so filled his soul he could not contain it. He used nothing less than the full power of the Hebrew language to express how he felt. The result of his meditation on the excellence of God’s Word is the Bible’s longest chapter, containing more verses than any other chapter.

Yet the author’s effort is not superfluous, but rather is a beautifully constructed acrostic. He utilizes the twenty-two consonants of the Hebrew alphabet in successive order to create twenty-two stanzas, each containing eight verses. In each verse is a synonym which describes God’s law: law, testimonies, commandments, decrees, judgments, precepts, statutes, word, and way.

This 119th chapter, also known as the premier song about the Torah, celebrates the Word of God. It was designed to be memorized and applied. It gave worshipers instructions on obeying God’s Word in order to live a blessed life. The psalmist declares the full sufficiency of God’s Word in the life of the believer who loves and obeys it.

Hebrews 4:12 reminds us, “For the word of God is living and active.” John Wycliffe wrote, “God’s words will give men new life more than the other words that are for pleasure. O marvelous power of the Divine Seed which overpowers strong men in arms, softens hard hearts, and renews and changes.” God’s Word possesses the supernatural power to produce a godly life.

Some time ago I was experiencing a difficult season in ministry. It seemed I could not find a way out of this challenging situation. During this time I journaled each day. I reflected upon what was happening and recorded my progress or regression. As applicable scriptures came to mind, I wrote them down on pieces of paper and carried them in my pocket. I read and re-read them. These scriptures gave me direction, comfort, strength and encouragement. By clinging to God’s promises, I was able to stand firm until the storm passed over.

Each of us is greatly dependent on the ministry of God’s Word to lead us into the fullness of God’s will. Keeping a record, diary, or journal helps us see God’s progressive work and provides a written testimony of His faithfulness.

Praxis

  1. Reread Psalm 119:1-8. As you read each verse, find the synonym which refers to God’s Word. Circle or underline it. Write in your journal how each principle or truth about God’s law can be applied to your life and the benefits God’s Word promises.
  2. Find the music and lyrics to the hymn “Wonderful Words of Life,” by Philip Bliss. Worship the Lord by singing this hymn. How has God’s Word given you life? Capture these thoughts in a journal entry.
  3. Select a verse of scripture which may be applied to a situation you are facing. Memorize the verse. Throughout the day, reflect on this verse. At the end of the day, record in your journal this experience and the insights you received.
  4. Spend time reflecting on your life. Ask God to reveal an area of disobedience. Find a verse that may serve to instruct and provide correction. Each day make notations in your journal of how God’s Word is “actively” working in your life to bring repentance, redirection and restoration.

About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.