Friday, June 12, 2009

Streams in the Summer Desert Challenge

In Charles Spurgeon's Classic Devotional, Morning and Evening, this Morning's Devotional challenges us to a more contemplative life (U2's Unknown Caller issues a similar challenge!). Too often we read the Bible to tick off a "to do" so that we can think we are good little Christians. Too often we read the Bible intellectually for head knowledge rather than as an opportunity to listen to fresh WALTZ music.

The Waltz is a Three-Step Dance with Christ by the Power of the Holy Spirit that leads us to Spiritual Growth--Repent! Believe! Fight! Scripture is like a Holy Spirit REMIX every time we prayerfully approach Christ through it that presents us with fresh Waltz music.

U2 has some songs on their Medium, Rare and Remastered release that are "re-mixes." Old songs re-mixed to different styles of music. Same lyrics, different music. That's what we should expect from the Holy Spirit as we read Scripture...same lyrics, different music...different WALTZ music. Different sins exposed that we must REPENT of. Promises brought to light in fresh ways that we need to BELIEVE. Commands and prohibitions that have fresh application to our lives and circumstances which require us to FIGHT to obey.

We must read Scripture PERSONALLY. Read Scripture for APPLICATION more than for head KNOWLEDGE. Read Scripture as a conversation with God...a discipleship appointment with the Father. If you read the Bible and find yourself thinking, "I know this already. I've read this passage or heard it taught 100 times!", you are not reading the Bible for all its worth! Change your approach to Scripture and you will be more hungry and motivated to read it!

Let me give you the Streams in the Summer Desert Challenge. One of the greatest Psalms in the Bible, and certainly the longest Psalm in the Bible, is Psalm 119. It is made up of 22 stanzas of 8 verses each. It is made up of 22 stanzas because that is how many letters there are in the Hebrew alphabet.

Each line of each stanza begins with the same English it would be like each of the verses in stanza one, Psalm 119:1-8, beginning with the letter "A." Then stanza two, verses 9-16 would start each verse with the letter "B," etc. It was crafted this way was so it could be more easily memorized! Feeling like a light-weight right about now? 176 verses make up the Psalm...when is the last time you memorized 176 verses??

So, here's the Streams in the Desert Summer Challenge: Over the next 22 days, read one stanza of Psalm 119 CONTEMPLATIVELY! The entire Psalm is about the riches of reading, learning, meditating upon, obeying and applying God's Word. WALTZ through each stanza over the next 22 days. Ask God for a hunger for His Word. Cry out for a heart that would understand and apply His Word. Confess any lack of hunger or thirst for Scripture. Make the Psalmist's words YOUR words. Pray slowly and intentionally through each word in each line if that's what it takes...and watch your hunger and heart for Scripture be transformed by God's Spirit.

Eat well!

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