Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Eat your food Tina!

Feed Your Soul
By James MacDonald

People often ask me if I have a life verse.

If I do, it is Jeremiah 15:16, “Your words were found and I ate them, and your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart.” It’s kind of my testimony. I was going nowhere in a hurry and I found this book God wrote and began to feast on it like a soldier devouring his last meal. When the Word of God is absent from my life my heart is hungry. When I feast on the Bread of Life, my heart overflows with joy.

I experience that reality of Scripture’s power on a weekly basis. Every weekend at our church, I see the truth penetrate people’s hearts, grip their minds, move their emotions, and, best of all, engage their wills toward permanent change. Not only is God’s Word the tool of our conversion, it is also the tool of our transformation. It confronts us and convicts us about our true need.

I can personally testify to the power of God’s truth when I’ve invited it to penetrate my heart, driving indifference and complacency from my soul. Long before I proclaim God’s Word in our church service, I sit alone in my study with His Word and invite God to change me, to grip me with the reality that He is speaking. I ask Him to fill my heart with faith as I focus on His words and to accomplish His purpose in me as Isaiah 55:10 promises. A long time ago I heard someone say, “you can’t teach what you don’t know and you can’t lead where you don’t go.” God is faithful to His Word and we who place ourselves in the flow of that unceasing work are the continual benefactors.

You want that kind of joy for yourself, don’t you? Here’s three ways you can feed your soul on God’s Word:

READ IT: So that you don’t miss the power of what you are reading, savor God’s Word like you would your favorite dessert—take a bite or two, then put your spoon down. Don’t rush. If you read it for twelve minutes each day, or one and a half hours per week, you could finish reading the Bible in a year, and you will be so incredibly blessed you will want to start all over again the next year.

As for where to start, begin in the gospel of John. Read it slowly and every time you see the word believe, underline it and ask yourself: Believe what? Be interactive like this with every book of the Bible. Pray before you begin reading each time. Ask the Lord to open your mind and heart to His truth and then believe that He will.

QUESTION IT: Here are some prompts I use; over time, you can develop your own. What portion of my reading stands out to me? Why? • Is there an example for me to follow? • Is there an error for me to avoid? • Is there a duty for me to perform? • Is there any promise for me to claim? • Is there a sin for me to confess?

PLAN IT: Keep your commitment to God’s Word going by making a plan how you can apply what you’re learning. Take notes; when the Spirit convicts you of a sin, have a strategy to deal with it. The results will amaze you.

I have never in my life picked up the Word of God with the phone unplugged and the door shut and given it my focus and my faith in a diligent way when it hasn’t fed me with a new spiritual vitality.

So if you’re feeling a little spiritually famished today, I know what’s going on. You need to get back into the Word of God. In its pages, God has provided all that is sufficient for godly living:

  • When you read God’s Word it will bring you joy. (Jeremiah 15:16)
  • When you study God’s Word, it will keep you from shame. (2 Timothy 2:15)
  • When you memorize God’s Word, it will purify your heart. (Psalm 119:11)
  • When you quote God’s Word, it will defeat your enemies. (Ephesians 6:10, 17)
  • When you meditate on God’s Word, it will bring you success. (Joshua 1:8)
  • When you abide in God’s Word, it will give you confidence. (John 15:7)

Ask God to renew your appetite for the book He wrote. It will take discipline to get into a daily pattern, but pure delight will keep you there. Ask yourself, “Is God’s Word a priority in my life?” Even though I’m extremely committed to the Bible, I always have to come back to that question and never let anything crowd the priority of Scripture out in my life. I need to read it, I need to study it, I need to memorize it, I need to meditate upon it. It’s not enough to just talk about it at church. If you’re struggling or worried or don’t know how to get victory over some temptation, get back into God’s Word. It’s food for your soul and the tool by which God will accomplish His work in you.

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