Monday, February 15, 2010

An instructed tongue?

We're starting a new women's Bible study tonight at FBC Wisner, and preparing for it has inspired my choice of memory verse for the second half of February. It's Isaiah 50:4:

The Sovereign LORD has given me
an instructed tongue,

to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.

I love this verse - although I cringe when I get to the part about "an instructed tongue." I mean, God may have given me an instructed tongue, but I don't seem to use it very often. I'd love to know the word that sustains the weary - and to be the kind of woman whose speech is marked by grace, wisdom and comfort.

Then we get to the part about "He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught." That's where the new Bible study comes into play. It's "Discerning the Voice of God" by Priscilla Shirer and it's focused on expecting, anticipating the divine voice of God. He can and does speak to His children...are we listening?

Am I?

The New Living Translation puts it this way:

The Sovereign Lord has given me
his words of wisdom,

so that I know how to comfort the weary.
Morning by morning he wakens me
and opens my understanding to his will.

I want to expect, listen, wait patiently -
and obey His voice...
what are you learning from God's word

Monday, February 1, 2010

To follow is the only free road...

Well, I'm beginning my 2010 Scripture memory journey! I skipped over January, so I'm beginning with a passage of three verses to "catch up!" Since the celebration in Houston with Beth Moore, one verse in particular in Psalm 119 has continued to resonate - verse 32.

I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free

So often, we're convinced that freedom is "out there" somewhere, in the wild, untamed jungle of life. But it's impossible to run through that kind of jungle without getting entangled in vines, scratched and bruised by branches or stumbling into unexpected obstacles. You can only run with free, wild abandon on the path - a path made smooth by a loving God.

I love the way the topic of freedom is addressed in The Reason for God (a book I'm re-reading for the third time). The author, Timothy Keller, reasons that freedom is not the absence of restrictions but finding the right ones, "the liberating restrictions." He gives the example of giving up time to practice and strengthen a natural talent or ability. "You've deliberately lost your freedom to engage in some things in order to release yourself to a richer kind of freedom to accomplish other things."

Keller also uses the example of love - the most liberating loss of freedom. In love, we have to lose independence to gain intimacy...and we're happy to do so!

Back to memory work! I'm working on Psalm 119:30-32...

I have chosen the way of truth;
I have set my heart on your laws.

I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD;
do not let me be put to shame.

I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free.

One more reflection from Beth's teaching on Psalm 119. The Psalmist uses a variety of words for the revelation of God - precepts, word, statutes, commands, teachings, testimonies, judgments, promises. The word "law" is used frequently, but not in the way we might translate it - a list of "do's and don'ts." The word law is more accurately translated as teachings, instructions, communication. One of the main things that sets us apart as the people of God is the fact that He speaks to us. This passage is my prayer - for me and for you.

(If you're memorizing Scripture, I'd love to hear from you! Let me know what verses - and why! I love to know the stories behind the choices!)