A couple of weeks ago, we were able to restart Bible Class on Sunday mornings at St. Paul. It’s the best thing that’s happened since Covid hit. There is absolutely nothing more important to a healthy church than a strong Bible study ministry. When the people of the church are excited about Bible study it shows the desire of God’s people to be in THE WORD, to make time for THE WORD, and to be with other Christians sharing THE WORD. In pastoral ministry, I’ve noticed that the most spiritually unhealthy times in the church are those times when few people are in Bible study.
By the way, that’s what I like about this thirty days of prayer and purpose…
…it’s getting us all into THE WORD!
At St. Paul we are studying the life of King David. And as a part of that study we’re looking at many of the psalms. But I have to admit, I’ve never been very good at studying the psalms. It’s not that I dislike them—I’ve just always had a hard time knowing what to do with them. Psalms can seem so random at times.
So I’ve determined to turn that around.
That’s what we’re supposed to be doing these 30 days, right? Making changes…. right?
I’ve determined to take a psalm a week and really study it. I even keep a journal and read the psalm slowly, thinking about each line and each word and considering what it means for me. I consider what it means for my neighbor, and then I consider what it means concerning Jesus Christ.
I write down my thoughts and I pray about them. And then the next day I review my notes and pray again.
It’s made a huge difference. It’s been really good.
Not only do I understand the Psalms better, but my prayers are improving.
I encourage you to try it. Although, I hope devotions like this one are helping, too.
One bible verse I’d like to share today comes from my study of Psalm 3:3. David says, “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.”
I love this verse. I think it might be my new favorite Bible verse.
(But I’m a pastor so I have a lot of favorite Bible verses J).
What I like about Psalm 3:3 is the idea of God cupping my chin in His hand and lifting my head so that I can see. Honestly, I need God to do that often because I too easily get to looking down. I tend to see only right around me—my busy schedule, my to-do lists, my agendas, my deadlines, stresses, obligations, worries, lists, plans, etc.
I get so gosh-darn focused on me and all that I’ve got going on, that I forget to look up and look around and look out for what Jesus is up to and where He is leading me and what He would like for me to be doing with each day. I forget to pray for these things, too.
Yes… it’s true… O Lord, You are the lifter of my head.
I remember when I was a little boy and I’d go hunting with my dad. We’d be stalking through the woods and, of course, that meant we had to be as quiet as possible. But I would get so focused on trying to be silent– avoiding every rock, twig, and dry leaf—that I’d be looking down at the ground the whole time. I may have managed to be quiet, but I could only see what was at my feet. My dad would occasionally stop and remind me that I needed to look up. He said, “You can’t hunt if you’re not looking for what you’re hunting for.”
I think the same principle applies to you and me as followers of Jesus.
What are you hunting for? Are you spending too much time looking down at life around you? Are you missing the opportunities that Jesus is giving us all around to be His witnesses?
This, I know for sure: The more I am in His Word, the more I realize that I need to look up. The more I am in His Word the more He lifts up my head so that I can see.
Today, I love stalking through the psalms and hunting for the wonderful surprises I find there, hidden away. The words and phrases of truth I discover in the psalms have filled my prayers to point of overflow and I’m starting to see the world around me a little differently, too. I find myself a little less concerned about everyday frustrations and instead I’m excited about what the Lord might be up to and how He might use me. I’m a little more mindful of conversations I have and the things I say and do, how all this bears witness to Christ. I hope your study of THE WORD does the same thing for you.
Thanks for joining me this thirty days.
- When it comes to the ministry of our church, what do you think we should be “hunting” for?
- How might we as a congregation be looking too much at the ground in front of us?
- Apply these same questions to your family or any organization. Jesus is always giving us opportunities to make change, if we just look for them.
Lord Jesus, I am so easily downcast and filled with inner turmoil. I get frustrated easily and too often lose my temper. Quiet my soul with Your precious Words of grace, love, and purpose. Remind me of who I am—Your beloved child and Your light in this dark world—and help me shine. You, O Lord, said, “My yoke is easy and My burden is lite.” So, help me take a deep breath, today, and breathe out the hostility and stress. Give me strength to open Your holy Word and be refreshed.
Lord, I look to You to cause my thoughts to be agreeable to Your will that I might make wise, healthy, and godly choices. You are my confidence. Keep my foot from any snare. Lift up my head so that I can see the work that You would have me do. Above all, direct my eyes to the precious blood You shed for me on the cross, so that by faith, I may know that when I fail and fall, You will pick me up, again. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.