VIDEO Spiritual Getaways: Day of Bible Reading

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2

The late historian, Shelby Foote, spent twenty years writing nearly three thousand pages of his three-volume The Civil War: A Narrative. He read more than three hundred books as part of his research, and would often spend six hours at a stretch immersed in his reading. No wonder his work on the American Civil War is considered the standard work on the subject.

If spending six hours reading about a military conflict is profitable, how much more profitable might be extended hours spent reading the Bible? Hopefully, all Christians attend to Bible reading consistently. But those readings are usually short, perhaps a chapter involving a half-hour of reading. But how about a spiritual getaway devoted to a deeper dive into Scripture? The Bible speaks of meditating on God’s Word “day and night,” which doesn’t mean 24 hours straight. (It means often or continually.) But what about a day, a night, or a weekend retreat to immerse one’s heart and soul in Scripture?

Plan a spiritual getaway to enjoy the “delights” that come from reading and meditating on God’s Word (Psalm 119:16, 35).

The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection.  A. W. Tozer


How to Become Evergreen – Psalm 1 Meditation by Tim Keller

Finding Joy in Praise

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. Habakkuk 3:18

When the famous British writer C. S. Lewis first gave his life to Jesus, he initially resisted praising God. In fact, he called it “a stumbling block.” His struggle was “in the suggestion that God Himself demanded it.” Yet Lewis finally realized “it is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence” to His people. Then we, “in perfect love with God,” find joy in Him no more separable “than the brightness a mirror receives” from the “brightness it sheds.”

The prophet Habakkuk arrived at this conclusion centuries earlier. After complaining to God about evils aimed at the people of Judah, Habakkuk came to see that praising Him leads to joy—not in what God does, but in who He is. Thus, even in a national or world crisis, God is still great. As the prophet declared: 

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord” (Habakkuk 3:17–18). “I will be joyful in God my Savior,” he added. 

As C. S. Lewis realized, “The whole world rings with praise.” Habakkuk, likewise, surrendered to praising God always, finding rich joy in the One who “marches on forever” (v. 6).

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

When you praise God, what’s the impact on your spirit? Reflecting on God’s goodness, name three things you can praise Him for today.

Loving God, even during hard times, stir in my heart—and on my lips—the rich spirit of joyful praise to You.

To learn more about the book of Habakkuk, visit ChristianUniversity.org/OT314

God Holds You Fast

Romans 8:31-39

Have you ever wondered whether you’re truly saved? Since many people wrestle with this question, it’s important to understand exactly what God says about our salvation. After all, His Word—not our feelings—is the anchor that steadies us when doubts enter our mind.

Questions about our salvation usually surface when we feel overwhelmed by the guilt of our sin. We wonder how someone who struggles with temptation the way we do could possibly be saved. Or sometimes we worry that we haven’t surrendered enough of our life or obeyed sufficiently. 

Let me assure you that salvation is not dependent upon any work you do. It is God’s gift to you—by grace, through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). You didn’t earn it, and you don’t have to do anything to keep it. God is the one who secures your salvation; once you’re saved, nothing can separate you from His love, which you received through your union with Christ.

When doubts arise about your eternal well-being, remember what God has promised in Scripture: He chose you before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4); the Holy Spirit gave you new life (Titus 3:5); and our Savior Jesus Christ paid the full penalty for your sin (1 Peter 2:24). No one can condemn you—not even yourself.

Privileged Suffering

“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” (Philippians 1:29)

Paul wrote in the previous verses that we are to conduct ourselves as though our only citizenship was worthy of the gospel message that we proclaim, and that in doing so we should be committed to a mindset held together by the Holy Spirit. Then, he encouraged us not to be “terrified by your adversaries” (Philippians 1:28).

Such adversaries—from the devil himself (1 Peter 5:8) to business (Matthew 5:25) and family problems (Luke 12:13)—are part and parcel to those who would “live godly in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:12). We should not be surprised when such challenges come; rather, we should be alarmed if all men “speak well of you” (Luke 6:26).

Curiously, Paul wrote that we are “gifted” (Greek verb charizomai, same idea as the related noun charis) with this privilege, in the interests of our Lord Jesus, to “suffer for his sake.” The apostles understood this paradox as they left the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name” (Acts 5:41).

Peter wrote that we should follow the example set for us by the Lord Jesus, “who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). In fact, we should “rejoice” when asked to share in the same kind of sufferings that our Lord endured, and whenever we are “reproached for the name of Christ” we should be happy, “for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you” (1 Peter 4:14).

Privileged suffering indeed! James wrote that we should “count it all joy” (James 1:2) when we are tested. Those times increase our faith and allow us to demonstrate our allegiance to Christ. HMM III

The Prayer of Faith

... The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. —James 5:16

A second important requirement if the believing church is to be used in God’s ministry is prayer and the response God makes to our prayers uttered in true faith…. No matter what our stature or status, we have the authority in the family of God to pray the prayer of faith. The prayer of faith engages the heart of God, meeting God’s conditions of spiritual life and victory.

Our consideration of the power and efficacy of prayer enters into the question of why we are part of a Christian congregation and what that congregation is striving to be and do. We have to consider whether we are just going around and around—like a religious merry-go-round. Are we simply holding on to the painted mane of the painted horse, repeating a trip of very insignificant circles to a pleasing musical accompaniment?…

All of the advertising we can do will never equal the interest and participation in the things of God resulting from the gracious answers to the prayers of faith generated by the Holy Spirit.   TRA007-008

Lord, don’t ever let me be satisfied “holding on to the painted mane of the painted horse.” I want to be part of a dynamic Body of believers, greatly used of You because we’re seeing answers to genuine “prayers of faith generated by the Holy Spirit.” Amen.

The Art of Worship

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. —Psalm 29:2

Worship is the missing jewel in modern evangelicalism. We’re organized; we work; we have our agendas. We have almost everything, but there’s one thing that the churches, even the gospel churches, do not have: that is the ability to worship. We are not cultivating the art of worship. It’s the one shining gem that is lost to the modern church, and I believe that we ought to search for this until we find it.

I think I ought to talk a little more about what worship is and what it would be like if it were in the church. Well, it’s an attitude, a state of mind, a sustained act, subject to degrees of perfection and intensity. As soon as He sends the Spirit of His Son into our hearts we say “Abba” and we’re worshiping. That’s one thing. But it’s quite another thing to be worshipers in the full New Testament sense of the word and up to our possibilities. WMJ020

God wants us to worship Him. He doesn’t need us, for He couldn’t be a self-sufficient God and need anything or anybody, but He wants us. When Adam sinned it was not he who cried, “God, where art Thou?” It was God who cried, “Adam, where art thou?” QTB199

Tozer on the Holy Spirit.

Try and Try Again!

Hebrews 12:1

Perhaps the story of every winner of fame and fortune in the wide, wide world might be written in these words: “He succeeded because he tried and tried and tried again.”

I often try, and fail at the onset. I cannot see, nor hear, nor feel, nor even imagine conquest; more frequently I imagine the very opposite to conquest. The devil or something whispers to me of defeat rather than triumph. But I try again and again, and again, and then I see, I hear and rejoice when the thing is done. So I say, “Go on, my brother; try, my sister. Try again, and you shall conquer.”

My comrade, you want a clean heart. You did try for the treasure once. You went to the altar and tried to understand, tried to consecrate, tried to believe, tried to feel, tried to keep hold of God, but you did not succeed; at least, you thought you did not get the blessing, or if you had it you thought you lost it again, and now you say to yourself, “I failed.” There is only one thing for you to do and that is to give up reasoning about it, and try again.

You want to see that soul saved—father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, husband, wife—someone who is very dear to you. You made an effort on their behalf once; you talked to them, wrote to them, prayed, believed for them, or thought you did. Anyway, you tried hard, really hard, and yet not so very hard, nor so very long, after all, compared with what your Savior did for you. Still, you did try, and you failed; and yet I won’t let you call it failure. How do you know what you accomplished? Well, they are not saved. What ought you to do?

There is only one thing you can do. Try again.

Look to your aim. Is it in God’s plan that you should have it? Is it for the welfare of someone else? Is it within the circle of the atoning blood? Is it a pleasing object to the Almighty? Then make your resolution, see to your faith, sharpen your sword, throw away your scabbard, summon heaven and earth to your help, make a death-struggle of it, and try, and try, and try again, and again, and again, and you shall overcome as Jesus overcame and sit down with Him on the Conqueror’s Throne and wear the victor’s crown.

William Booth, The Warrior’s Daily Portion