"Engaging the Scriptures," Pastor Doug Kamstra, Psalm 19:1-7, January 19, 2020 AM

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Engaging the Scriptures (Discovering God’s Will Together; #7) Psalm 19:7-11

A. John Wesley prayed to be a “homo unius libri” (i.e., “a man of one book.”)

“The secret to life is pursing one thing.” (Jack Palance)

“Seek wisdom...to believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind...” (cf. James 1:5-8) (Soren Kirkegaard)

B. As disciples, we’ve committed to pursuing a relationship with Jesus

“...be transformed by the renewing of your mind...” (Romans 12:2)

“...being transformed into his image...” (1 Corinthians 3:18)

“It means that we will think, speak, meditate, and do all things with a view to God’s glory.” (John Calvin)

“The words that bombard us all day long from billboards and tabloids and talk shows pull us in a thousand directions, but the Word God speaks to us from His Word can renew our minds.” (John Ortberg)

THE CHALLENGES

A. We tend to study the Scripture like we study a textbook - for information

“...let the Word of God dwell richly in us.” (Colossians 3:16)

B. We need to care of our soul...or eventually it will wither and die

1. The problem is less methodology and more motivation

2. Transformation is fundamentally a heart issue. Do I really want Jesus?

THE COURSE

A. Make time to meet God in the Scripture

There should be a daily time set apart for the disciplined reading of Scripture; at the optimum point of our day, when we are at our best, set apart physically in surroundings that are conducive to opening our lives to God; and set apart internally from the pressures and tensions of our lives. (John Wesley)

We simply need quiet time in the presence of God. Although we want to make all our time, time for God, we will never succeed if we do not reserve a minute, an hour, a morning, a day, a week, a month or whatever period of time for God and him alone. This asks for much discipline and risk taking because we always seem to have something more urgent to do and “just sitting there” and “doing nothing” often disturbs us more than it helps. But there is no way around this. Being useless and silent in the presence of God belongs to the core of all prayer. In the beginning we often hear our own unruly noises more loudly than God’s voice. This is at times hard to tolerate. But slowly, very slowly, we discover that the silent time makes us quiet and deepens our awareness or ourselves and God. Then, very soon, we start missing these moments when we are deprived of them, and before we are fully aware of it an inner momentum has developed that draws us more and more into silence and closer to that still point where God speaks to us.” (Henri Nouwen)

B. Begin with a prayerful, humble, obedient spirit 1. Ask God to meet you in Scripture

“I had no wish to read further; there was no need...it was as though my heart was filled with a light of confidence and all the shadows of my doubt were swept away.” (Augustine)

2. Read with a readiness to surrender everything

C. Read a brief passage; read it slowly; read it out loud; read it repeatedly

“If you read it quickly, it will benefit you little. You will be like a bee that merely skims the surface of a flower. Instead, in this new way of reading with prayer, you must become as the bee who penetrates the depths of the flower. You plunge deeply within to remove its deepest nectar.” (Mdame Guyon)

“Contemplative reading of the holy scriptures and silent time in the presence of God belong closely together. The word of God draws us into silence; silence makes us attentive to God’s word. The word of God penetrates through the thick of human verbosity to the silent center of our heart; silence opens in us that space where the word can be heard. Without reading the word, silence becomes stale, and without silence, the word loses its re-creative power. The word leads to silence and silence to the word. The word is born in silence, and silence is the deepest response to the word.” (Henri Nouwen)

1. Read Scripture as a love letter: Psalm 19:7-11 (The Message)

The revelation of God is whole, pulling our lives together The signposts of God are clear, pointing out the right road The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy The directions of God are plainand easy on the eyes. God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee. The decisions of God are accurate, down to the nth degree. God’s Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring,better than red, ripe strawberries. There’s more: God’s Word warns us of dangerand directs us to hidden treasure.

 Reading One – Listen for a word or phrase the Spirit brings to mind

 Reading Two – Reflect on the word; what is God saying to me?

 Reading Three –Respond to this Word; Pray it back to God

 Reading Four – Relate this word to your life today; Rest

2. This process is known as lectio divina (divine reading)

D. Reflect on this word throughout your day

E. Integrate your experience into your life

1. Goal is not for us to get into the Word but to get the Word into us

2. If there is no change, no transformation has occurred

3. The more time we spend with Jesus in his Word, the more his love transforms

us

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