Shame is probably one the most feared experiences there is. We will do just about anything to protect ourselves from an experience where we feel shame. People today as they attempt to control others use words that shame others like knives. As we raised our 8 kids we tried hard not to say or do anything that would make them feel shame, but instead to give them a sense of worth and value. In psalms 119 the longest chapter in the Bible that has as it’s main topic the blessings of reading the Word of God mentions 10 times that those who read the Word will be protected from shame.
Psalms 119:22 Take away reproach and contempt from me, For I observe Your testimonies.
Psalms 119:31 I cling to Your testimonies; O Lord, do not put me to shame!
Psalms 119:39 Turn away my reproach which I dread, For Your ordinances are good.
I have thought about the “nuts and bolts” of how this works, but I think that as we honor God by abiding in His Words, He honors us by protecting us from hurtful words and embarrassing situations.
Psalms 119:23 Even though princes sit and talk against me, Your servant meditates on Your statutes.
Psalms 31:20 You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues.
That last verse was a major point of meditation for me back in the early days of ministry when I did so many dumb things, and received a fair amount of verbal criticism for it.
This blessing is what gave me the confidence to try new things that had the potential to not go well, because I had this strong sense that God would guard me as I continued to serve Him and make His Word a high priority of my life.
So far the blessings that we experience from God because we honor Him, seek Him, and seek His will by reading the Word of God each day is Wisdom, Success, Righteousness, Inner Strength, a growing Intimacy with God, and joy. Those 6 alone would motivate me to read faithfully every day, but we are going to add 19 more blessings, and hopefully by the time we get to the end you won’t ever want to miss reading again.
When Jesus was tempted by the devil while in the wilderness fasting He resisted him by quoting scripture. The devil tempted Him by talking to Him, and He tempts us in the same way, he talks to us and we hear him in our thoughts. Those thoughts that he initiates if not captured will grow in our mind and have babies and begin to establish some strongholds which begin to control our attitude, and then our behavior.
1 Timothy 4:1 “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,”. “PAYING ATTENTION TO”, his words begin to influence and control. Those who read the Bible a lot, memorize a lot, and meditate on the supernatural Word of God quickly recognize false statements and thoughts and replace them with Gods Word .
1 John 2:14 I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
What exactly is joy? It is obviously an emotion. Probably most would think of an event or experience that would prompt or cause a very positive emotion of feeling happy. This joy is controlled by the events in a person’s life, most of which they have little to no control over.
The joy that I desire for myself is a mostly constant feeling of contentment, an up or positive sense that “life is good”, a freedom from anxiety, a positive anticipation of the future, and a strong feeling of security based on an abiding trust in God’s love for me and in His constant control of the details of my life. This joy has no connection to the events or circumstances in my life. The joy that I seek is listed as a fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5, meaning that the joy I have is put in my heart by God, it is called “the joy of the Lord”. This supernatural joy is not put in us by God arbitrarily, there are conditions that He has made that we must meet in order to be recipients of this great blessing.
One of these conditions is that we abide in His Word. God’s Word is living, supernatural, powerful, and active. The Word of God is the sword of the Holy Spirit. When we faithfully, daily read, memorize, study, and meditate on His Word the joy of the Lord becomes more and more a constant state of being in us. The joy of the Lord becomes our strength against the attacks of the devil, the temptations of the world, and the negativity of our own flesh. One of the questions that I am asked is “how much should I read”? My guideline is, “I read until I am filled with joy”. Often when life is tough, and joy stealers abound I read and meditate on God’s Word for a long time. It is incredibly freeing to know that I can determine my joy level in spite of life, I don’t have to be a victim.
Psalms 119:111 I have inherited Your testimonies forever, For they are the joy of my heart.
Infinite, almighty, God created me for a purpose, and that purpose is best expressed in some of the words of Jesus to His disciples when He was about to depart this earth. John 14:3 “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also”. RECEIVE YOU TO MYSELF, THAT WHERE I AM, THERE YOU MAY BE ALSO. That is an amazing statement that I believe is meant for me as well as His disciples. God desires my fellowship, He wants to spend time with me. One of the commands given with a blessing many, many times in the Bible is to seek the Lord. “Those who seek the Lord will not be in want of any good thing”. I grow close to a person that I spend time with, and talk to, and listen to. The Bible is the living Word of God, and as I faithfully, daily read it, one of the major blessings is that I grow closer and closer to, and more intimate with my God and Savior.
Psalms 119:2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart.
Psalms 119:10 With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
Psalms 119:38 Establish Your word to Your servant, As that which produces reverence for You.
Psalms 119:176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, For I do not forget Your commandments.
When I choose to pick up my Bible and read it, I am choosing to seek God, and He is honored by that choice, and He will honor me for it. “Those who honor Me, I will honor”.
I blogged about a week ago that I have a list of 25 blessings that come into my life as I faithfully read God’s Word, and I read it periodically to maintain my motivation to read daily.
The 4th blessing is especially important to me because of my job and ministry as a Pastor, which has a high level of pressure, potential stress, emotional energy loss, and potential for burnout because of all the people issues that I deal with.
A huge blessing that comes into my life from the supernatural power of God’s Word is energy, inner strength, and peace to deal with pressures, responsibility, disappointments, crisis, failure, and unrealized goals that drain me and have a strong tendency to make me depressed, weary, and unmotivated. Putting this blessing in a positive way, “faithfully reading the Bible, abiding in His Word fills me with passion, vision, fire, and a strong desire to do more and to bear much fruit for Him”.
When I start feeling flat I read more and spend more time memorizing and meditating on what I have memorized. It is sort of like taking a nap when I am sleepy, or eating when I am hungry.
Psalms 119:25 My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.
Psalms 119:28 My soul weeps because of grief; Strengthen me according to Your word.
Psalms 119:88 Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.
Psalms 119:92 If Your law had not been my delight, Then I would have perished in my affliction.
Psalms 119:93 I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me.
Psalms 119:107 I am exceedingly afflicted; Revive me, O Lord, according to Your word.
Psalms 119:159 Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness.
My favorite verse that I have memorized and meditate on is Psalms 119:165 Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble.
The third blessing that comes into my life when I faithfully read, memorize, and meditate on God’s Word is that I will grow in my level of righteousness, I will have growing victory over the power of sin in my life. Psalms 119:9 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.” Psalms 119:11, continues the theme, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You”, and Psalms 119:101 “I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word.”
One of the basic principles of my life as I pursue righteousness is that I don’t get better by trying harder, I get better by training faithfully. Just as a basketball player, a runner, a boxer improves by practice, so I become more like Christ by practice. Hebrews 5:13-14 says, “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
When I was struggling with anger I memorized and daily meditated on a dozen Bible verses on anger. When I was struggling with watching to much TV I looked up and memorized verses on Self-Control, a then went over them daily in my mind. The Word of God is living, supernatural, and when we honor God by reading His Word He works in us, changing us from the inside out.
I have personally identified 25 blessings from scripture that God gives to us when we read His Word faithfully. The first is wisdom, and the second is prosperity and success.
Psalms 1:2-3 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
Psalms 1:3 “In whatever he does, he prospers”, and Joshua 1:8 “then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success”.
To be successful doesn’t mean everything in life is super and you have no problems or trials, but it does mean you are accomplishing significant things with your life. My definition of success which I heard someone else say years ago at a seminar, though I can’t remember who, is, “Success is accomplishing the goals that God has been leading you to set”.
Joseph would be an example of God blessing, Genesis 39:23 “The Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made to prosper.”
And it says of Daniel. “Whatever he did, the Lord caused it to be successful”,
We all crave success in the things that we so, whether at work or at home, we desire to accomplish significant things with our life, even seemingly impossible things. God loves to bless His children, but He won’t do it if we are not seeking Him, seeking His will, and honoring Him by reading His Word. It really is a small price to pay, to give Him 30 minutes each day, 15 minutes for reading and 15 minutes for prayer.