Doing Christianity

Psalm 119: 112

I have inclined my heart to perform Thy statutes forever, even to the end.

The New Testament equivalent of this verse is found in James 1: 22 where James, the half-brother of Jesus, importunes us to “prove” ourselves “to be doers of the word, not merely hearers.” James teaches us that it is not enough to go to church and listen to a minister tell us about the Word of God. We need to take the word we hear and put it into action.

The psalmist from this passage in Psalm 119 has made that transition. He knows that his success is tied to applying the statutes of God, not only hearing them and learning them. He has decided, has set his heart, to doing all he sees in the Word of God.

We all need to be like the psalmist. We need to make a quality decision that we will let the Word of God lead us. We should let God’s word be the final authority in our lives. Everyone wants to hear from God. Meanwhile we have His Word lying on our coffee tables and yet ignore it. He is speaking to you; it is His Word; His words to you. He is trying to lead you to the calm waters and into the green pastures but many of His kids are not listening. He wants to lead you to the paths of success, happiness and joy.

It seems that it should be enough for us that God Almighty has made a decree. That ought to be reason enough for us to set our hearts to obey. But when you begin to understand why He has made the decree you ought to want to run to perform all that He has said because everything that He tells you to do, every rule that you fuss over, every bit of guidance He is giving you is for your benefit. He is not leading you into dark alleys where something bad is laid in store for you. He is leading you into your promised land. Rush quickly to do all that God is telling you to do. If you don’t think He has told you something specific for you to do, then pick up your Bible and He will show you something. There is plenty there for us to work on. Make up your mind that you are going to dedicate yourself to doing all that you find in the Word of God. Decide that you are going to devote yourself to performing all of His statutes. Then you will find favor and every blessing.

Power in Praise

Acts 16: 25 – 26

But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.

I am a participant in a Divine Conference Call on Thursday’s. Besides seeking God and studying His Word, we have also been taking James advice from James 1: 22 which reads, “Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” Each week we perform a practicum. One week we focused on reading our Bibles every day. Another week we concerned ourselves with praying every day, and so on. This has proved a good experiment. We find our weaknesses and our strengths. We have learned the areas where we need to press in and the areas which come easily to us. The greatest thing I have learned comes from the week we determined to praise and worship God for at least five minutes every day.

First, I found that this was the most challenging of all the practices. We endevoured to lean into the worship side of things by which I mean, specifically, worshiping God for who He is rather than for what He has done. It was not a time of thanksgiving, nor a time of prayer. It wasn’t about what God has done for us but simply glorifying Him in His grandeur and majesty. The second thing I discovered from this practice was from my own experience. I found that nothing opened me to the Spirit mentally, emotionally and spiritually than worship and praise. I heard God better that week than any other week. Although I find worshiping God harder than reading my Bible, I also found that by pressing through, I learned more about glorifying Him with my words. Singing His praises releases something in me. It takes me out of my intellectual self and I connect with simply being a child of God.

God often, I could perhaps even say always, meets me over His Word. That is where we commune daily. However, this worship of God for who He is was the hardest and yet most successful of all the weeks of our practicum. I know that when I sit down with my Bible, the Father will sit right next to me. I guarantee the Holy Spirit will teach me something I did not know before. However, as I praised God, the Spirit was released in an entirely different way. All of a sudden, I was hearing God’s voice speak so much that I could barely continue for having to write things down. I began getting ideas. The flow of the Holy Spirit was exactly like the river of living waters.

You see, in today’s passage, how praise released the power of God into Paul and Silas’ situation. It can, and will, do the same thing for us, but we need to practice. We must learn how to open our hearts and let sincere praise flow forth, honoring the God of our hearts. We need to learn to connect with the intimate love we have for the Father. From that place of intimacy, it becomes a simple matter to let words of adoration and praise flow out. I adjure you to join us in our practice of the Word of God. Practice worshiping our God. Practice lifting worship up to Him. I believe you will find a new and deeper connection with Him when you do. Will you join us? Will you put feet to your faith and let God see and hear your Christian conviction?

Get a Life

John 8: 31              Amplified

So Jesus was saying to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word [continually obeying My teachings and living in accordance with them, then] you are truly My disciples.

We looked at abiding in Jesus yesterday. I posited that a key way to dwell in him was to meditate in his word. This idea is not new. Over 2000 years ago, Jesus taught that we should abide in his Word. The road to becoming a disciple of Christ is paved with Jesus’ words.

Discipleship programs are very popular. Churches host week and month long programs on discipleship. The crux of all of those programs must be abiding in Jesus’ Word. Today’s verse reveals there is more to discipleship than only reading the word. The Amplified Version highlights the active component of discipleship. We must be doers of Jesus’ Word just as Jesus’ brother, James, intones in James 1: 22. In fact, James taught those who are not doers of the Word delude themselves.

Jesus instructs us through today’s verse that we must continually apply his teachings. Disciples of Jesus live according to his Word. Meditating on the scriptures helps us to abide in Christ. The natural result of abiding in Jesus is that we follow his teachings. Our lives begin to reflect his ways when we abide in and obey his teachings. All of these ideas fit together to give us the abundant life that Jesus came to earth to give us (John 10: 10). Jesus did not come down to the earth to give us a bunch of rules. He came to give us life. One of the key ways he imparts life to us is through his Word. There is life in the Word. Let’s go get some.

Living Truth

James 1: 22 (Amplified Version)

But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].

Jesus said we would be known by our fruit (Matthew 7: 16). It will not be by what we say but rather the evidence of how we behave by which we will be known to Jesus as His own. Probably we all know someone who talks a good game but doesn’t seem to really have the proof in the pudding. In other words, they know the right things to say but their life really doesn’t represent the love that Jesus invested in them. I know someone like that. This person seems to read the Bible, listens to tapes by Christian leaders and reads Christian books and yet, the love of Christ and the Truth of Christ is not readily apparent, and I fear that, perhaps, the same could be said of me.

Now we can all make mistakes and we fall into carnality at times but we really should endeavor to do all that Christ is teaching us. The Bible is not a book for intellectual meditation as much as it is an owner’s manual for each of us. We are to apply what we read there. When it says, do not judge, forgive, pray for those who persecute you, love all, pursue peace and the rest, we are actually supposed to give ourselves over to those behaviors. We’ll not do it all in our own might though. Here is where the love of Christ in our lives manifests itself. In all humility we ask our Dad to help us; to create in us a heart capable of behaving like Jesus. Then we surrender to His ministrations as he makes us into an exact image of Christ exemplified in us. Hallelujah! All this is possible in Him. Let us do what we see in the Bible including letting Him, with our help, transform us into the very image of His dear son. Be ye doers of the Word, not hearers only.