Forty-five weeks into my verse-a-week challenge, and it has been just that! I haven’t always done my best with memorization or meditation, I’ll admit. I can’t perfectly recall the references for all of the passages, which is a little frustrating, and I’m looking into maybe some flash cards (digital or paper) to collect all of them in one spot for review and future reference. Please share ideas with me if you have them! I have experienced some benefits from focusing (strongly or weakly) on a verse each week, which I believe is the power of God’s Word and the grace of his character in action. Those truths are coming to mind when I need them, whether in moments of quiet reflection, conversation with friends, or teaching young ones.
When I was a child I didn’t understand the meaning of “hiding” God’s Word in your heart. I thought, “Why would I hide it when it’s something I’m supposed to see and remember?” To my young mind, hiding the Word didn’t jive with letting my light shine, learning and obeying, or really with loving God. But as I got older I started to have lightbulb moments with that phrase. It happened as Scripture I learned as a child came to my mind, accompanied by new understanding. It is not so much that we hide the Word in our hearts as we would hide a present until Christmas time. We don’t tuck it away to conceal the truth from ourselves, but we store it up (a simple change of translation could have helped me a lot as a kid!) for future use. The Bible tells us that God’s Word is living and active (Heb. 4:12), eternal (Is. 40:8 & 1 Pet. 1:25), and does not return empty (Is. 55:11). When God’s people learn his words, it’s like we pack all of those truths up and carry them with us on the journey of life, using what we have when we need, with help and guidance from God’s Spirit.
Another benefit of this verse-a-week thing, albeit a minor and less-spiritual one, has been numbering the weeks of the year. I have been more aware of how much or how little time is left in 2015. Forty-five feels like a good week number. We’re 7 weeks away from the end of the year and I am going to be at home for all of those weeks. I LOVE to be at home! To be sure, I will miss being with my families a little bit around the holidays, but it is nice to look ahead to this special season and know that I won’t need to pack suitcases or alter my work schedule or be ruled by a “to do before leaving town” list.
On to the verses of the week. The song on Seeds of Praise for these verses is “Amen,” and it’s track 3. The Scripture is Revelation 7:10 and 12, but I will also include verse 11.
…and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
I’m studying Revelation in Bible Study Fellowship this year, and I’m enjoying it. We haven’t gotten to chapter 7 yet, though, so I don’t have any special insight on this passage. I’m excited to get there!
What I take from this passage today is this: if salvation belongs to God– and only God– and blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, and power all belong to him, then he must be the source we rely upon for all of these things, and we must give him credit and praise for who he is and what he provides.
I am working on praise. I am working on prayer. I am working on love. And it seems wrong to say I’m working on these things because of, you know… grace. But at the same time, these things do take work: living a life of praise, engaging in prayer, and accepting God’s love. Obedience takes practice and work. It isn’t that I can work my way to salvation. I cannot, as the passage above reminds me. But the proof of my salvation is in my desire to let the Spirit bring about fruits of praise and prayer and love and obedience in my life, and it takes work for me to yield to God rather than sitting in my mess and doing what I want. I have to pack my own suitcase, as it were.
In my thinking and praying about love, I am trying something: taking an intellectual moment and turning it into a heart moment. I’ve been having a lot of intellectual moments over the past several years. In fact, I think I could say my worship style has changed a bit from music to study. And I think that’s okay; the Word absolutely can and does lead us to praise. But I lost a bit of softness in my heart in that transition and I’m trying to get it back. So when I have moments of connecting two different Scriptural truths, or I see something in life that connects to Scripture, or I connect Scripture to my own needs or the grace of God in my life, etc. etc. I try to think, “This is because of God’s love for me,” or, “I am thinking this because of God’s Spirit, which means he is with me, and that is because he loves me.” That gets me a little emotional sometimes as I feel the Spirit softening my heart again. I pray this will continue.
Speaking of BSF up there, I should spend a little less time writing about Revelation here and a little more time doing that lesson I neglected all weekend. Here is a picture of the passage of the week from my own study Bible (with my very fancy BSF bookmark). FYI, my study Bible is the Open Bible in the New Living Translation.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts, and I hope you will be blessed by this passage from God’s Word.