From Pastor Claude Taylor
Dear New Hope family,
Are you reading your Bible? Are you sharing it as a family? Do you talk about it over the dinner table, or read it together after eating? Are you memorizing Scripture and hiding it in your heart? Is the Bible becoming more and more something you enjoy? Is it your delight? And are you finding it useful? Has it become a helpful weapon in your battle against temptation, a guide in your decision-making? Do you see the Word of God at work in your everyday life?
This year we’ve been working through Psalm 119 each week in our call to worship, with the goal of impressing upon our hearts the importance of reading and following God’s Word. Our hope is that this has been a help in establishing (or re-establishing) and reinforcing the important discipline of reading Scripture individually, as a family, and as a church family. Our prayer is that you are becoming more and more a man or woman (or child) of the Word.
It struck me this week that we have already read 112 verses of Psalm 119; this is the longest chapter in the Bible, and yet we are already well more than half way finished. Soon we’ll have read all 176 verses, and we’ll move on to using other passages of scripture for our call to worship. Presumably we’ll resume our practice of choosing a different call to worship each week based on the topic of that week’s morning message. At that point, will reading through Psalm 119 have had any lasting effect on us as a congregation? By then, will we be a more Bible-saturated people, or will working through Psalm 119 just be another “thing” that we did at church this year—a little different, perhaps, but at the end of the day having no lasting impact on our lives or our walk with God?
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” I pray that our hearts would not be hardened, but that we would allow the word of God to penetrate deeply within us—to expose the thoughts and intentions of our hearts—to convict, challenge, and ultimately change us. We only have a couple more months together in Psalm 119; may the Lord bless His Word to us, to impress upon us the absolute necessity of reading, believing, and walking in the ways of His Word.
Our focus tomorrow will be on the Lord as our Hiding Place:
- The Lord and His Word Keep Us Safe.
I hate the double-minded, but I love your law. You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God. Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope! Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually!
- His Word Teaches Us to Fear Only Him.
You spurn all who go astray from your statutes, for their cunning is in vain. All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross, therefore I love your testimonies. My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments. (Psalm 119:113-120)