Archive for August, 2011

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Keeping and Doing: Aided by Journaling…

August 31, 2011

When it comes to studying the Word of God there are as many methods, techniques and options as there are people.  But few methods are as helpful as concentrated study and copying the text for yourself.  The Kings of Israel were given this command In Deuteronomy 17:18-20;

“And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests.  And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them,  that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel. Deuteronomy 17:18-20

There was a legal benefit to this to be sure.  The law of God was the law of the land, it would be analogous to having the president of the United States, upon assuming office, write out his own copy of the constitution. (not at all a bad idea if you ask me.)  But there is a spiritual component to this command which far outweighs any civil aspect.

The law, the Word of the living God, given to His people, is the key to salvation and blessing to all who receive it.  A Blessed man is one who delights in this law, and meditates on it day and night.  And there are few methods of meditation better than simply copying the text with your own hand and letting each word sink into your soul as the ink dries on the page.

To this end, there is a great product which is relatively recent, which is designed to help facilitate and encourage this type of study.  It is called the 17:18 Journable series.

The books each contain an outline of a biblical text and blank pages, one page for text and the other for reflection.

From their website:

Each book is organized so that you can write out your very own copy of Scripture. You will be writing the Bible text only on the right hand page of the book. This should make for easier writing and also allows ample space on the left page to write your own notes and comments. From time to time a question or word willbe lightly printed on the left page; these questions are to aid in further study, butshould not interfere with your own notes and comments.

I have a couple volumes and have found them to be exceedingly helpful and a real aid in my study and relishing of God’s great gift.  The true delight comes when you complete your book, and you have your own hand written copy of the text, to keep, to study and to pass on to future generations.

Hopefully this will be an encouragement to us as we seek to keep and do this word, to be doers and not hearers only, of the implanted word, able to save our souls.

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Keys to the Kingdom: the path to divine citizenship…

August 30, 2011

America is unique in that it is one of the only nations in the world where one can become ‘an American’ regardless of where you’re from or who you are. Everyone here is from somewhere else. We define being American not simply in terms of legal status, but also as a way of life, a set of ideals, principles and habits. Americans have a walk, a talk, and an appearance, which is recognized, throughout the world. Sometimes it is mimicked and sometimes it is mocked. These are the marks of citizenship.

Being a citizen is not simply a recognition of some sovereign power, but the lawful submission to that sovereignty in deeds as well as thought. When submission is absent, anarchy breeds and soon one could rightfully begin to question citizenship altogether.

Jesus calls us to be part of a new sovereign state, and He gives us the path to citizenship. The kingdom of Heaven is near, indeed it is upon us. So how does the this kingdom manifest itself? Since Christ’s life, death and resurrection, much has happened in the world to make us question whether or not this kingdom has truly come. Certainly His disciples, most of whom died at the hands of earthly sovereign oppressors, would have wondered if the kingdom had arrived.

What Jesus gives us in the beatitudes is the keys to this in-breaking kingdom. Martin Lloyd-Jones once preached, in his sermon on the Beatitudes, that,

“When He said to the Pharisees ‘the kingdom of God is among you, ‘ it was though He were saying, ‘it is being manifested in your midst.’ Don’t say ‘look here’ or ‘look there’. Get rid of this materialistic view. I am here amongst you; I am doing things, it is here.’ Wherever the reign of Christ is being manifested, the kingdom of God is there.”

The kingdom is the practiced life of the King by His subjects. Where Christ rules, the kingdom reigns. When we approach God in spiritual poverty, we approach the King with empty hands and humble hearts. And at that moment we become blessed, our hands are freed from earthly bonds and our hearts are filled with the riches of the kingdom. And as we proceed through life, we are to act like the King and in so doing our culture changes and the presence of the kingdom becomes more clear. We must be gentle, merciful, peaceful and pure, and in doing so we will be blessed. We will still mourn, but we will be comforted. We will still hunger but we will be satisfied. And while we are still persecuted, we rest under the rule of our King; walking in the shadow of His throne, in the light of His love and according to the code of His kingdom written on our hearts.