Category Archives: Spiritual Growth

Sacred Snippet: Tests and Trials

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Tests and Trials

You look okay on the outside. Everything looks great to others, but privately you feel threats, encounter significant problems, or experience suffering that people can’t see. The Bible calls these tests and trials.

When people start seeing through you, it’s tough. You don’t want to feel weak in front of other people. You don’t want them to see the difficulties you might be facing, the threats you might be encountering, or the internal turmoil you are going through. However, you know they are there.

My Test and Trial

One day, I opened my blog website and discovered it was no longer there. Panic engulfed me. Also, emails were being sent to my blog subscribers, which I did not send. I panicked–fearful some obscene image or article might show up on my site sent by an intruder. I tried to fix the problem on my own. But the backend software (the hidden infrastructure of the website) was in complete disarray. I went to my paid subscription sources and hosting site and got partial help. But internally, the data inside my blog was corrupt. There were severe problems–five, to be exact. “Hacked” was a word I never wanted to hear, but hackers were precisely who infiltrated my site. [However, if you are reading this now, no worries, it has all been fixed, my dear friends.]

God is our Source

In our lives today, personal pressures and problems consume our thoughts, and nobody but us know they are there. They destroy our thinking. We even go to trusted websites or self-help books to help to no avail. When we face inner struggles, our heavenly Father is the one to approach first. He knows what is going on in our minds, personal ruminations, and physical selves. God is there not only to help us with these difficulties but to walk alongside us until the time is right for Him to show us His purposes. 

Children, take your intimate struggles to the Lord and ask Jesus to plead with your heavenly Father to show His purpose. 

Sit before Your Heavenly Father

The Bible says we will have struggles and trials. Being a believer does not alleviate living in this fallen world. Before reaching out to friends, family, or Internet sources, go first to God, sit before him, rest, and ask Him to handle your threats, problems, struggles, and concealed thoughts. He is there for you. 

James 1: 2-5 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

Then wait in prayer, meditation, and Bible reading for an answer. Sometimes God answers quickly, but oftentimes, we are left waiting, yearning, and seeking His response for even years. As we wait, let us be growing in an abundance of love for our Lord and Savior. Live in joy and service until the time comes when we have “been approved” for our dedication and undefiled obedience, whether in this life or the next.

James says, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial, for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).

How to Handle Tests and Trials

  • Recognize that tests and trials come to all people,
  • Realize our adverse circumstances allow us to reach greater maturity in Him,
  • Pray for guidance,
  • Seek His wisdom,
  • Obey God’s principles and precepts,
  • Understand that our trials are opportunities to honor the Lord,
  • Be joyful through testing and trials,
  • Trust that God knows what He is doing,
  • Know that when the trials cease, our faith will be stronger,
  • Stand firm no matter how long our testing or preparation takes, and
  • Know that the ‘Crown of Life’ awaits us when we have stood the test and our trials are over.

Just as it took time to fix my website, commit to journeying with the Lord during your wait time and love Him with your entire being, no matter what!

God Bless,

 

 

 

Books by Patti Greene

BIBLE WORD SEARCH PUZZLE SERIES

Psalms: Genres, Authorship, Themes, Structure, and Chapter Headings

I hate to admit it, but there was a time I was not particularly eager to read the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament. I found myself just wanting to be learning something “more substantial and productive.” Fortunately, in time, I saw the benefits of reading this 150-chapter book of the Bible. It came about when I realized I just needed to be still before the Lord, when I needed to rest in Him, and when I needed His presence more deeply in my life. Maybe you are in the same boat, so I want to share some information—yes, to me, important information, that might help you get started. Start with a chapter whose title sounds interesting. Cross them off when you read each one, and then come back and comment if reading this book makes sense to you.

Genres

The chapters in the Book of Psalms include the following number of different genres. The genres in Psalms identify and group the books by the main idea of the psalm. Below you will see how the 150 psalms are categorized by their overall subject matter. Some say the genres are like prayers.

  • Lament  - 59
  • Praise  - 41
  • Hymn  - 17
  • Royal  - 10
  • Wisdom  - 9
  • Thanksgiving  - 8
  • Trust - 6

Authorship

Psalms authorship can be attributed to multiple people.

  • David
  • Asaph
  • Korahites
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Anonymous

Themes

There are multiple themes in the Book of Psalms. The most prominent are listed below.

  • Worship
  • Faith
  • Prayer: Petition
  • Thankfulness
  • God: Providence
  • Righteousness
  • God: Faithfulness
  • God: Love

Structure

Many types of structures consist in Psalms. Here are just a few you might recognize when you read through this mighty book.

  • Strophe-a structural division of a poem containing stanzas of varying line length, especially an ode or free verse poem.
  • Chiasm-a repetition of any group of verse elements (including rhyme and grammatical structure in reverse order.
  • Acrostic-a poem, or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words.

Chapter Headings

Now, it is time for you to browse through the titles of the psalms. If it helps, print off this list, keep it in your Bible and check off the ones you read. Find ones that interest you first and go from there.

Psalm 1           The Ways of the Righteous and the Wicked

Psalm 2           The Messiah’s Reign

Psalm 3           A Call to Yahweh in Distress

Psalm 4           Safety in Yahweh

Psalm 5           Prayer for Guidance and Protection

Psalm 6           An Appeal for Forgiveness and Deliverance

Psalm 7           Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

Psalm 8           Yahweh’s Glory in Creation

Psalm 9           Praise for Yahweh’s Justice

Psalm 10         Prayer for God to Throwdown the Wicked

Psalm 11         Confidence in Yahweh’s Righteousness

Psalm 12         Human Faithlessness and God’s Faithfulness

Psalm 13         Trust in the Salvation of Yahweh

Psalm 14         The Folly of the Godless and God’s Final Triumph

Psalm 15         Description of Those Who May Dwell with Yahweh

Psalm 16         Confidence in Yahweh

Psalm 17         Prayer for Vindication and Protection

Psalm 18         Praise to God for His Deliverance

Psalm 19         Yahweh’s Creation and Law

Psalm 20         God’s Blessing on the King

Psalm 21         Joy in the Salvation of Yahweh

Psalm 22         Suffering and Waiting for Deliverance

Psalm 23         Yahweh the Shepherd

Psalm 24         The King of Glory

Psalm 25         A Prayer for Guidance, Deliverance, and Forgiveness

Psalm 26         A Prayer for Vindication

Psalm 27         Declaration of Trust

Psalm 28         Prayer for Help, and Joy in Its Answer

Psalm 29         Praise to God for His Glory and Strength

Psalm 30         Thanksgiving for Answered Prayer

Psalm 31         Yahweh is a Fortress

Psalm 32         Thanksgiving for Forgiveness of Sins

Psalm 33         Praise to Yahweh for His Character and Creation

Psalm 34         Thanksgiving for Yahweh’s Deliverance

Psalm 35         Prayer for Rescue from Enemies

Psalm 36         Human Wickedness and God’s Love

Psalm 37         The Protection of the Righteous and the Destruction of the Wicked

Psalm 38         Prayer of Repentance

Psalm 39         The Brevity of Human Life

Psalm 40         God’s Faithfulness and Deliverance

Psalm 41         Thanksgiving for God’s Provision in Time of Sickness

Psalm 42         Hope in God in the Midst of Despair

Psalm 43         Prayer for Rescue

Psalm 44         Present Defeat and Past Deliverance

Psalm 45         Celebration of a Royal Wedding

Psalm 46         God Provides for and Protects His People

Psalm 47         God Is King over All the Earth

Psalm 48         The Greatness of God in Zion

Psalm 49         Wealth and the Fate of the Wicked

Psalm 50         An Oracle Concerning Sacrifices

Psalm 51         Prayer of Repentance and Plea for Mercy

Psalm 52         God’s Judgment on the Wicked and Love for the Faithful

Psalm 53         The Folly of the Godless and Salvation for Israel

Psalm 54         Answered Prayer for Deliverance from Adversaries

Psalm 55         Betrayal of a Friend and Trust in God

Psalm 56         Prayer for Deliverance and Confidence in God

Psalm 57         Prayer for Rescue from Enemies

Psalm 58         Judgment on the Wicked

Psalm 59         A Prayer for Protection

Psalm 60         Lament After a Defeat and a Prayer for Restoration

Psalm 61         Confidence in God’s Protection

Psalm 62         Confidence in God’s Salvation

Psalm 63         Longing for God

Psalm 64         Plea for Divine Retribution

Psalm 65         Thanksgiving for God’s Provision

Psalm 66         Thanksgiving to God for His Works

Psalm 67         Prayer of Blessing

Psalm 68         Praise to God for Providing Victory

Psalm 69         Plea for Deliverance from Persecution

Psalm 70         Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

Psalm 71         A Prayer to God the Rock of Refuge

Psalm 72         Prayer for the Prosperity of God’s Anointed King

Psalm 73         The Wicked and the Righteous Contrasted

Psalm 74         Lament in Time of National Defeat

Psalm 75         Thanksgiving for God’s Future Help

Psalm 76         Praise to God for His Rescue of Israel

Psalm 77         Remembering God’s Help for Israel

Psalm 78         God’s Faithfulness in Israel’s History

Psalm 79         Lament for Jerusalem after Its Destruction

Psalm 80         Prayer to Restore Israel

Psalm 81         An Appeal from God to Israel

Psalm 82         God Commands Justice

Psalm 83         Request to Act against Israel’s Neighbors

Psalm 84         The Joy of Worshiping in the Temple

Psalm 85         Hope in God’s Future Help

Psalm 86         Prayer for Help against Ruthless Men

Psalm 87         Foreign Nations Come to Worship in Jerusalem

Psalm 88         Prayer for Help in Despair

Psalm 89         Remembering the Covenant with David, and Sorrow for Lost Blessings

Psalm 90         God’s Eternity and Human Frailty

Psalm 91         God’s Protection in Times of Crisis

Psalm 92         Thanksgiving to Yahweh for Victory

Psalm 93         Yahweh Is King Over All the Earth

Psalm 94         Prayer for Retribution against Oppressors

Psalm 95         Call to Worship and Obey

Psalm 96         Yahweh the King Comes in Judgment

Psalm 97         Yahweh’s Glorious Reign

Psalm 98         Praise to Yahweh for His Salvation and Judgment

Psalm 99         Yahweh Is a Holy King

Psalm 100       Worship God with Joy

Psalm 101       Promise to Act with Integrity

Psalm 102       Plea for Personal and National Help

Psalm 103       Thanksgiving for Yahweh’s Compassion

Psalm 104       Praise to Yahweh for His Creation and Providence

Psalm 105       Praise to Yahweh for His Work on Behalf of Israel

Psalm 106       Praise to Yahweh for His Faithfulness in Israel’s History

Psalm 107       Thanksgiving to Yahweh for His Deliverance

Psalm 108       Prayer to Yahweh for Victory over Enemies

Psalm 109       Prayer for Help against Enemies

Psalm 110       Yahweh Gives Authority to His Messiah

Psalm 111       Praise to God for His Work and Commands

Psalm 112       The Path of the Righteous and the Path of the Wicked

Psalm 113       God’s Majesty and Care for the Needy

Psalm 114       Praise to God for His Works During the Exodus

Psalm 115       Dead Idols and the Living God

Psalm 116       Thanksgiving for God’s Deliverance

Psalm 117       Let All Peoples Praise Yahweh

Psalm 118       Praise to God for His Loyal Love

Psalm 119       Meditation on Yahweh’s Law

Psalm 120       Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

Psalm 121       Trust in God’s Protection

Psalm 122       Jerusalem the Site of God’s Presence

Psalm 123       Prayer for Yahweh’s Action in the Face of Scorn

Psalm 124       Thanksgiving for Yahweh’s Help

Psalm 125       Confidence in Yahweh’s Protection

Psalm 126       Prayer for Restoration

Psalm 127       Prayer for Protection and Prosperity

Psalm 128       Blessed Is Everyone Who Fears Yahweh

Psalm 129       Victory Over the Enemies of Zion

Psalm 130       Hope for the Redemption of Yahweh

Psalm 131       Calm Trust in Yahweh

Psalm 132       Yahweh Dwells in Zion

Psalm 133       The People of God Dwell in Unity

Psalm 134       Praising Yahweh in the Temple at Night

Psalm 135       Praise to God for His Power and Redemption

Psalm 136       Praise to God for His Creation and Deliverance

Psalm 137       Lament During the Babylonian Exile

Psalm 138       Thanksgiving for Yahweh’s Goodness

Psalm 139       The Knowledge of God

Psalm 140       Prayer for Help in the Face of Enemies

Psalm 141       Prayer for God’s Help in Maintaining Integrity

Psalm 142       Prayer for Deliverance from Pursuers

Psalm 143       Prayer for Rescue from Enemies

Psalm 144       Prayer for National Safety

Psalm 145       Song of God’s Majesty and Love

Psalm 146       Praise to Yahweh for His Help

Psalm 147       Praise to Yahweh for His Provision

Psalm 148       Let all Creation Praise Yahweh

Psalm 149       Praise to God for His Future Judgment

Psalm 150       Let Everything Praise Yahweh

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this browse through these psalms. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, at one time I was not particularly interested in reading the psalms. But God has a way of enlightening us! Only God’s sense of humor would have put me in a position where I am now facilitating a seventeen-session Bible study on the Book of Psalms from the Joy of Living Bible Study. God is good, wise, and always wants us to move on with Him.

God bless.

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Verses come from the New American Standard Bible. Photo Credit: Canva

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Psalm 51 Bible Study

Are you looking for a Bible study to teach or to work on yourself?

Below you will find a Bible study on Psalm 51 that can be worked on at any time. By studying straight from the Bible, my prayer is that you will discover spiritual truth and direction in your life or in the lives of others.

BIBLE STUDY TEXT: PSALM 51 (NASB)

Read 2 Samuel 11:1-27 and 2 Samuel 12:1-25 for background information about King David’s sin and Nathan’s rebuke of him. This will enhance your understanding of the Bible study lesson.

A few years ago, a man wrote to Dear Abby needing help. The article titled, “Dear Abby, Guilt over affair leaves husband thinking of suicide.” This man had been married for 19 years and had two children. He fooled around, convincing himself that the women knew what they were doing and that he never promised them anything. His affairs became public, and his reputation was in ruins. He asked “Dear Abby” to provide a solution. He signed off calling himself Shattered in Louisiana. ¹

We find a similar real-life story in the fourth and most well-known penitential psalm, Psalm 51. Penitential psalms are psalms that express deep sorrow leading to a person’s true repentance of sin. Most scholars claim that King David wrote this psalm, or if not, by someone who knew the extent of the deep suffering he experienced. This prayer psalm was written after Nathan, the prophet, confronted David about his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah. King David was on his palace rooftop when many say he should have been with his men in battle. He looks out and sees Bathsheba bathing. He asks his men to fetch her and bring her back to the palace, where he has sex with her. She becomes pregnant. David arranges for her husband to come home from battle, anticipating that he will sleep with her and then he would take the responsibility of fatherhood. However, being an honorable man, Uriah does not go into Bathsheba and camps in tents away from her presence. David arranges for Uriah to be killed in battle. [1]

  1. As a married woman, what do these two stories speak to you about being faithful in marriage?

KING DAVID’S CALL FOR MERCY, FORGIVENESS, REPENTANCE, AND CLEANSING. Read Psalm 51:1-2.

The King James Version uses the word mercy to describe what David wants from God. He is crying out to God for help. David’s goal is for God to blot out his sin, so he can be cleansed and resume fellowship with Him. To grasp how the Bible looks at blotting, cleansing, and washing away sins, refer to Isaiah 43:25, Leviticus 11:32, and Isaiah 1:18, respectively. He is aware that he willfully rebelled against God and is grieved. David is ready to confess his sin and have fellowship with God again. Today, our sins are covered by Jesus’ death on the cross.

  1. Describe a time you reached a breaking point, and you called out to God for forgiveness?

RECOGNITION OF SIN. Read Psalm 51:3-6.

David begins to openly concede he has sinned. In verse 3, David acknowledges that his sin is “ever before me.” Although he knows his sin was towards Bathsheba, Uriah, and the entire nation of Israel, he is addressing his grave sin toward God. His sin against the LORD was the most offensive. David shows his seriousness when talking of his sin by calling it EVIL.

  1. What does David’s example teach us about the seriousness of sin?

In verse 5, David is now ready to accept whatever judgment God may choose for him. David recognizes that he was born in sin in verse 5. He is not using that as an excuse for his sin, but he acknowledges that he is human. All humankind has a sinful nature within them. Here it is important that one mustn’t think David is criticizing conception or birth, but that he is just conversing with God regarding what he understands about human nature. Moving to verse 6, we find David wanting God’s truth to be within his innermost being.

In the Compact Bible Commentary, the inward parts are described as “a rare word in the Hebrew Bible, indicating something clouded over, difficult for anyone to see but God.” ² David trusted God so much that he does not mind God searching for his innermost being. These verses conclude with David desiring wisdom—God’s wisdom. [2][3]

  1. In James 1:5, what does James say we should do if we lack wisdom?

PURIFICATION, HYSSOP, SNOW, AND BONES. Read Psalm 51:7-9.

These verses contain the phrases, “purify me, wash me, make me hear joy and gladness, let my broken bones rejoice, and hide thy face from my sins.” David is pleading for cleansing from his sin. Verse 7 mentions hyssop. Hyssop was a bush whose stems were dipped in blood or water and then sprinkled on people who needed cleansing. See Leviticus 14:4 and Numbers 19:6. Ceremonial hyssop was used on lepers and others during this period. Today, we receive our cleansing from the mighty blood of Jesus Christ. David desires true repentance and pleads for a clean heart—one that will wash him, make him joyful, and heal him. He wants his life to be as white as snow. When a person accepts Christ, there are testimonies of how they feel so clean and pure inside. That is David’s desire to have his life like that again. He also wants his sins hidden from the LORD. Verse 8 is intriguing. David declares how his sin has affected his eyes and bones. It is easy to deduce that more had been affected as well. Keep in mind that when we sin, our sin does affect us. We can become depressed, ill, and even suicidal. We should take a special interest in caring for our friends and loved ones if we see their destructive behavior. Verse 9 circles back around to David desiring God to blot out his sin. (See Psalm 51:1) This repetition shows that David really is serious about repenting of all his sin.

  1. What matters most in David’s life at this point is God’s forgiveness. What matters most in your life, and how is God intertwined in the matter?

CENTRAL VERSE EXPRESSING THE HEART OF DAVID. Read Psalm 51:10-12.

The central verse (theological principle) in this Bible study comes in Psalm 51:10 when David says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” David desires to be renewed, restored, and transformed. In verse 10, the word create is the same word used in Genesis 1:1, which states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God in His power called the world into being, and God in his power can cleanse David from his agonizing sin. David wants a new heart and a new spirit. He recognizes that he cannot do this by himself. It is up to God. We see God cleansing Israel and giving Israel a new heart and spirit in Ezekiel 36:25-27. This concept is very similar to Psalm 51 where it speaks of sprinkling water on the Israelites for cleansing, giving them a new heart and a new spirit, and allowing them to walk in His ways again. David wants to be in God’s presence again when he says he does not want to be cast from God’s presence in verse 11. He wants God’s Spirit, and he is ready to do the Lord’s will. In our life, we do not want to quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Striving to keep ourselves clean from sin is necessary for God’s Holy Spirit to move in our lives and keep us from temptation. Compare to Acts 15:8-9.

  1. While the LORD did forgive David, there were still consequences to his sin, one being the death of his son when he was 7-days old. (2 Samuel 12:18) What outcomes have you seen in your or other peoples’ lives due to sin?

Verse 12 speaks of regaining the joy of one’s salvation. David wants that “feeling” of purity and love for God back into his life. He wants it to be a sustainable feeling as well. He does not want to lose fellowship with his LORD again.

  1. Describe a time you or someone you know lost fellowship with God but then had it restored.

SINNERS CONVERTED, RIGHTEOUSNESS DELIVERED, RIGHTEOUS SACRIFICE, AND A BROKEN AND CONTRITE HEART. Read Psalm 51: 13-17.

In verses 13-15, David expresses his desire to be of service to God. He wants to teach others (sinners) and take what he has experienced and learned to help others. He wants to see people restored as he had been. It is a glorious event when we see others offering themselves up to serve God. Romans 5:20b eloquently states, “but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” David recognized his sin, and now that he has experienced restoration, he wanted to share God’s righteousness with others. Verse 14 speaks, delivering David from bloodguiltiness. Scholars believe this refers to Uriah’s blood. David experienced forgiveness for all his sins. He got right with God.

  1. What does God call David in Psalm 51:14?
  2. Have you ever experienced God’s gift of salvation? Would you like to share your salvation testimony with the class?

DELIGHT IN GOD. Read Psalm 51: 18-19.

When we look at verses 18 and 19, David is longing for God’s security. This is what he is referring to when he says, “Build the walls of Jerusalem” The walls were to be a security to God’s holy city, and that is how he wants his heart to be—secure in His LORD and to delight in Him. David gave God the sacrifice He desired, his heart. He is ready to be “the man after God’s own heart” that many call him today.

  1. Where can we find our security in God?

APPLYING THE TEXT.

· God is gracious and compassionate; therefore, when we repent, He forgives and cleanses us.

· Sin is serious and destructive.

· We must cry out to God to create a clean heart in us.

· God desires a broken and contrite heart from us.

· Once true repentance occurs, we are restored and able to delight in the Lord, our God.

CONCLUSION: REMEMBER THE MAN IN ADULTERY. Read Psalm 51:17.

At the beginning of this study, a man asked Dear Abby for advice on dealing with his guilt over affairs, leaving him thinking of suicide. Dear Abby’s answer was purposely not shared. There is only one solution for this man. It is to follow King David’s path calling on the LORD to wash him, cleanse him, and seek repentance in Jesus Christ. Then, in God’s grace, he will become pure. His broken spirit can be healed, and he can face life with a renewed heart and spirit. If not, he will remain Shattered in Louisiana.

PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father.

Thank you for washing me clean when I transgress against You. Lead me away from sin. Give me wisdom so that I can live with a pure heart. Keep my spirit steadfast in You. Lord, I want to be in Your presence always. Let me sing Your praises. Give me a broken and contrite heart so that I can praise You always.

In Christ Alone, Amen.

God bless,

Bibliography

Carson, D.A., R.T. France, J.A. Motyer, and G.J. Wenham, eds. New Bible Commentary. Downsers
Grove: Intervarsity, 1994.

Hays, J. Daniel and J. Scott Duvall, eds. The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook. Grand Rapids: Baker
Books, 2011.

Hill, Andrew E. and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.

Pfeiffer, Charles F. and Everett F. Harrison, eds. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary. Chicago: Moody
Press, 1962.

Radmacher, Earl, Ron Allen, H. Wayne House. Compact Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson,

Van Buren, Abagail, "Dear Abby: Guilt over affair leaves husband thinking of suicide," Accessed 4
October, 2021.

https://www.mrt.com/news/article/DEAR-ABBY-Guilt-over-affair-leaves-husband-7477821.php.

Wiersbe, Warren. The Bible Exposition Bible: Old Testament, Job—Song of Solomon. Colorado Springs,
David C. Cook, 2004.

[1]Van Buren, Abagail, “Dear Abby: Guilt over affair leaves husband thinking of suicide,” Accessed 4 October, 2021, https://www.mrt.com/news/article/DEAR-ABBY-Guilt-over-affair-leaves-husband-7477821.php.

[2]Radmacher, Earl, Ron Allen, H. Wayne House, Compact Bible Commentary, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004. 378.

Permission: I, Patti Greene, am the copyright owner of the above material titled Psalm 51: Bible Study. I consent to use this material with the expressed purpose of individual or group Bible Study only. Please give credit to the author by including: “Written by Patti Greene @ GreenePastures.org  for use in Bible studies only.”

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Delighting in God by A.W. Tozer

A.W. Tozer

Just like with music, I get hooked on a particular song, and I play it over and over, much to my husband’s cagrin.

As a teenager, I remember playing “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye so much that I thought my brother might rip the 45-rpm vinyl off the record player. I also obsess over topics and authors I investigate. I read an issue, or books by authors I like, until another new subject or writer piques my interest. 

The past few months, I have been obsessed with reading quite a few books by a true man of God— A.W. Tozer. During his life (1897-1963), Tozer was an American Christian pastor, Christian mentor, magazine editor, and author. As an author, he wrote sincerely! He wrote boldly! And he wrote with authority. Some of what he wrote contains many thoughts I have but am afraid to express. Maybe it’s my insecurity over being rejected, or perhaps it is my lack of courage or confidence. Either way, I am glad Tozer wrote what I mull over.

Tozer accepted Jesus Christ as his savior when he was a 17 year old teenager. His life was never the same after that. His schooling ended at 6th grade, but his education continued through extensive study in the Word of God. To read more about his life, click here. A.W. Tozer’s Biography from his Webpage!.

This past month, I wanted to read something happy, so I bought Tozer’s book, Delighting in God: True and absolute freedom is found only in the presence of God. This being a hectic time, I highlighted some sentences to share with you as I read the book. It turned out there was more conviction in the book than delighting. I know that conviction leads to confession, confession to a clean heart, a clean heart to a transformed heart, and a transformed heart to delighting in Him. So, I read on!

Below, I have quoted one sentence from each chapter of Tozer’s book, except in Chapter 7, where I splurged with two quotes, 

Two Activities

After I wrote, then reread this blog, I noticed something was missing.

What was missing was my thoughts on each profound phrase, so I quickly reread Tozer’s statements and jotted down the first thought that came to my mind. This activity reminded me of where I am at in my spiritual walk. You might find dialoguing over spiritual beliefs this way fun!

After reading Tozer’s chapter snippets, respond (aloud or on paper) to what you feel right after reading his quotation. You most likely will not have the same expressions as I did. That is to be expected, since we come from different backgrounds, encounter various trials, and experience wide-ranging circumstances. Also, our levels of maturity differ. It is an excellent dialoguing activity. To use a line from an old Alka-Seltzer commercial, “Try it, you’ll like it!”

Second, as a read-through activity, just read the chapter snippets I have noted from Tozer. You might become enamored of his writing style and decide if you want to pursue more profound readings along his lines. 

Chapter Snippets

Chapter 1: What I see lacking today is passion, but more defined, a passion for God, a deep desire to know God as He desires to be known.

“Oh Lord, give me a passion to be so close to You. Let me cling to You always.”

Chapter 2: What the Holy Spirit does not reveal to us is not worth knowing.

“This is hard, God. I want to know what the future holds for me, but I am not hearing from You. I remind myself You know the big picture of my life, but it doesn’t help my ruminations.”

Chapter 3: In evaluating the great advances and victories in the Christian church, we need to compare it to the New Testament pattern.

“Amen and Amen.”

Chapter 4 – Church problem – everything is programmed.

“So true Lord. I know for broadcasting, programs must be programmed, but I long for the days when we can be free to worship in our church without time restraints and just worship You until the Holy Spirit says to stop.”

Chapter 5 – You cannot reach the world by becoming like the world.

“I pray for me and my friends to not be like the world. I fail often. Let me see that as believers we are not of this world and accept that we may not quite fit in with some.”

Chapter 6: The average church . . . does not dare rise into high theology, because his poor backward sheep cannot follow him. It is hard to get people to think, but it is harder still to get them to thirst.

“Let our pastors and church leaders proclaim the Word of God without fear or trembling. Allow the Word of God to deeply infiltrate their lives, so only Your pure and righteous teaching may be preached. Let us understand church is for worshiping You, not for worldly entertainment.”

Chapter 7: What weakens us in evangelical circles is that we put a plus sign after Christ.

“Nothing can be added to You, God. I can’t add works, more Bible studies, more church work to add on to You. It is only a deeper walk with You that we need. Let us confess our sins and look to You for everything.”

Another Sentence from Chapter 7: Twenty minutes on your knees in silence before God will sometimes teach you more than you can learn even in church.

“This is so true, Jesus. When I am silent before You, You speak. Let my time with You be so much longer than just 20 minutes. I know I need so much more silence and solitude.”

Chapter 8: The first duty of every minister of the gospel is to bring God back to the church—not the intellectual God of the academics, not the palsy God of the gospelers, not the chairman of the board, but the God who reveals Himself in the Scriptures and who revealed Himself supremely in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Amen. Lord, I pray for my ministers and mentors. Do not let them fall into such spiritual warfare that God isn’t preached in truth and power. Let me always keep in my mind that in all I do, I must be humble before You as I face the hard things in life.”

Chapter 9: Whatever in my life is unlike God and contrary to the holiness of God must be eliminated from my life.

“Man, I so need to remember this. I pray for elimination over and over and over. I desire it, but it is so hard when the same thoughts keep seeping through my mind. Heal me of all ungodly thoughts and teach me what triggers I have that leads me astray.”

Chapter 10: To know about God and to know God are two absolutely, different things.

“I want my friends–even my church friends to understand this.”

Chapter 11: God cannot be manipulated.

“So true. Try as we may, God cannot be manipulated. He knows what is best for us and that is the direction He pursues for us. I sometimes try to get MY desires met through prayer and persuasion, but in reality, He is the one in charge–not us.”

Chapter 12: It is impossible to separate the Old Testament from the New Testament. It takes the whole Bible to make the Word of God.

“I heard once that when we read the entire Bible, we open ourselves up to hear ALL God wants to tell us. But, if we only read part of the Bible or only the parts we like, it is like us telling the Lord, ‘We DON’T want to know too much about Him.’ Lord, keep me in Your Word using all the different and creative ways I have seen You do, both in the past and currently.”

Chapter 13: So, God takes us through many trials, and it is not so important that we be happy right now. He is thinking about our enjoyment forever.

“Amen! If I can only live in the light of wanting Heaven more than anything else. I need Your strength each day to do that. I am so weak in this area.”

Chapter 14: Your own thoughts are heard by Him just as loud as Your loudest shout because God is as near to You as Your nerves, as near to You as Your thoughts and Your soul.

Jesus, I know You hear my thoughts and my prayers, but I sometimes wonder (maybe a lot) why You are not giving me relief in the areas that concern me. Come Lord Jesus and answer me with solid and specific ideas. Please take away any thoughts or prayers that I pray that might not be honorable to You. And, I need You to obliterate any distractions that Satan throws at me. Please.”

Chapter 15: I believe that the most important verse in the Bible is “In the beginning.” The most astounding and powerful phrase of all Scripture is “Thus saith the Lord.”

“Thus saith the Lord” is everywhere in the Bible. Let me hear You clearly when You say that phrase to me. Convince me it is You speaking and not my imagination or wishful thinking.”

Chapter 16: [Prayer] is more than a monologue—it is a dialogue. I am afraid most Christians have not progressed to the dialogue aspect of their prayer life.

“Lord, I know that is true. It hurts when I realize how difficult it is to dialogue–both myself and others. But, I know when we dialogue, it is a precious time between You and me. I love listening to Your Word, to the thoughts I obtain in the quiet times. I love dialoguing with my friends, but dialoging with You is the best. Please, do not let me get so busy where I am tempted to give my time with You up to do something else.”

Chapter 17: God is good.

Yes, I love that I have recently discovered Nahum 1:7, where it says, “The LORD is good.”

Chapter 18: Too many these days are going about the country making contented Christians. This is one of the worst possible things that could be done in the church—make a content Christian. We should not want contentment but a thirst for hunger after God. As long as we are without the thirst and hunger, we will be content.

“At church, make convictions a reality for us. Let us continually be reminded of sin. Why? So we will continue to become aware of our sins and shortcomings. Convict us, so we move to remove them from our lives. Give us Your humility to bow down in pure love to honor You. I want Your desires to be my desires. I want to become more and more like You. I want transformation.  I want (I need) to be transformed daily into Your image. Please take away any sinful or unpure thoughts, so my mind can be clear to hear Your Word.

Moving On

If anything caught your attention through my chapter highlights or quotes, I would love for you to share your thoughts with me through the comment section.

Okay, I feel it coming on again–that “hooked on a feeling” song. My song this time is “Til He Comes” by the Imperials! I know I am aging myself, but music is music. And the topic of this song is highly profitable as well! Right? Check it out on YouTube or through this link.

If you are a YouTuber, click here to hear “Til He Comes” by the Imperials.

Love y’all.

Bible Verses:

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied (Matthew 5:6).

Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature (1 Corinthians 14:20).

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you (John 14:26).

God Bless.

greenenpastures.org

Prayer:

Jesus, I want to hunger and thirst for You — for Your righteousness. Every day that I wake up, Lord, create in me a new heart. A heart that desires You more than anything or anyone else. Give me Your strength, wisdom, discernment, and joy until You come again to take us home to be with You forever and ever. In Your Name, Amen.

Work Cited

Tozer, A.W. Delighting in God: True and absolute freedom is found only in the presence of God. Ada, MI: Bethany House, 2015.

Bible verses come from The New American Standard Bible (NASB). “You” and “Your” references referring to God have been capitalized for consistency.

Edited by E. Johnson.

Fun Fact

Wondering what the A.W. stands for in Tozer’s name? His full name is Aiden Wilson Tozer. He never liked his name, so he became identified with his initials.

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Books by Patti Greene

  • Awaken Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Anchor Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Answer Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Christian Caregiving

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Transformation Should Be the Result of Worship

Transformation and Worship

 

Transformation is defined as a change—a metamorphosis. When we truly worship, we involve balancing our minds, emotions, our and will. We submit ourselves to God because He is worthy. Romans 12:1-2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 both explain how we can be transformed in our everyday life.

 

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

 

         Transformation involves worshiping God because He is worthy, He commands us to worship Him, and it should lead to our change. But it involves much more as we strive to worship God in spirit and truth.

 

Defining Transformation

 

Transformation means being changed on the inside, not just on the surface. If we switch to be more like the world, we are masquerading. We have the choice of whether to be a conformer or a transformer. God wants our lives to be transformed into the image of Jesus. 

First, we should give our bodies in holy service to Him. Second, since we are made in God’s image, we have our mind, which involves our intellect, emotions, and will. Our goal should be to think like Jesus does by understanding how false philosophy and Satan operate. We should be before the Lord daily in prayer, Bible study, listening to sermons, songs, and being quiet in meditation before the Lord. Third, we should not base our attitude on our feelings, but on the Holy Spirit—orienting our lives to say, “Not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).

When transformation occurs, we radiate the glory of God. People see Christ living in us. God’s spirit will be upon our hearts. We become more and more like Jesus as we allow ourselves to be transformed and desire God to be everything in our lives. A transformer’s values are different than those of most other people.

Spectator or Participant

 

Unfortunately, some believers are not interested in transforming their lives. They are comfortable with how they are even as they sit in the pews, week after week as an observer. They are conformers, not transformers. A vast majority of people want to be spectators and not participants.

 

Respected Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe says that a renewed mind is happy to hear God’s word from whatever source it is available. A transformer does not have a “celebrity attitude.” According to Wiersbe, transformers worship, pray, sow seeds and trust God to do His work, whereas a conformer runs from seminar to seminar seeking new techniques, latest fads, and other quick fixes. A transformer’s goal is to become more Christlike in character and conduct. Wiersbe says, “God’s call to real worship, to an experience of transformation, is a call to dangerous and costly living.”

 

Tidbits

 

Extra tidbits regarding transformation are:

 

– The word of God should transform everyone: pastors, leaders, and laypeople.

– Transformation involves prayer, church attendance or gatherings, Bible study, meditation, and more.

– When believers present themselves as living sacrifices, transformation happens.

– A transformer hungers and thirsts for more of God. And worship is NOT a chore for him.

 

Defining Worship

 

Wiersbe talks about how we have a problem with defining worship (and transformation.) He says it is difficult to do, but there are people in the Bible that we see worshiping God. There are multiple words in the Bible for worshipping God.

 

One of the most used words is Shachah, which means “to bow down and do homage” in Hebrew. In Greek, Proskneo means “showing reverence to God.” While there is true worship and false worship, we must remember that genuine, authentic worship is “an adventure with the Spirit.” William Temple defines worship as “the submission of all our nature to God.”

 

In defining worship, we must consider that true worship is balanced and involves our mind, emotions, and will. It is when we can feel Jesus’ presence and experience Shekinah’s glory. It is when God’s Spirit touches ours. God is the object and focus of our worship. Wiersbe defines worship as “our human response to God’s initiative and our response to God’s love for us.” Worship is an ongoing thing—not to be confined to one day a week. Worship is when we experience a transformation in our souls. To do that, we must communicate with Him daily.

 

Bible Verses: In text

 

Prayer:

Oh Lord, let me be more like You. Increase my desire to become closer to You–I want to see my life from Your perspective. I want to rest in Your holy presence. Jesus, thank you for loving me. Transform me into Your image, to do Your work, as I seek Your Shekinah glory in my life. In Your Name. Amen.

God Bless.

 Edited by E. Johnson

 

Wiersbe, Warren. Real Worship: Playground, Battleground, or Holy Ground? 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004.

 

Bible verses are taken from The New American Standard Bible.

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Books by Patti Greene

  • Awaken Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Anchor Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Answer Me – Devotional Workbook
  • Christian Caregiving

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Sacred Snippet: Tootsie Pops

I love how God can take the simple things in life and turn them into a blessing.

This morning I stopped at CVS with the intent to purchase only some computer paper. However, I decided to check out the candy row to see if they had a bag of Tootsie Pops. I had searched two other stores previously to no avail. Lo and behold, I discovered CVS had my favorite low-calorie candy—three points per pop for those who know what I mean! ¹

As mostly what happens to us all, we go into a store with good intents and come out with more. I even added some colorful Post-it Page Markers to my other two items. As I left the drug store, I hit the red light under Houston’s Katy Freeway. There I saw a young man. His legs were so skinny—like they were diseased. All I had to give him was a Tootsie Pop. I cannot say I was extremely generous by giving him the entire bag, but I wanted to give him something sweet to eat. I wrestled opening the bag; finally, I had to use my teeth to open the bag. Not cool, but I was afraid the light was going to turn green.

Once the bag was open, I reached in and started to pull out an orange and red pop, but then stopped. It was like the Lord said, “Give him your best.” God knew that red and orange were not my favorites, but chocolate and purple were. So, I quickly reached in, opened my window, and gave him a chocolate and purple Tootsie Pop. It might not seem like a big sacrifice, but when you understand the last two bags of Tootsie Pops I bought had no purples in them, you can understand my “sacrifice” a little better.

Now, here is the best part. I handed this young man the two pops. He saw them and gave me a big old grin through his crooked yellow teeth, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “thank you.” Yes, it was a small gesture on my part, but it started me out on the right foot and started his day out with a little sweetness too!

Ten Ways to Acknowledge God Honorably and Biblically

Have you ever felt led to pour love and grace upon a person? If so, it is most likely a person that you find great happiness being with. You want to help this person in their pursuits and passions. You protect them and wish them the best. Just as with a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, you find time to be with them—no matter what!

This is the same reason we should find time to spend with God. We do this because . . .

  • He loves us.
  • He is gracious to us.
  • He is merciful to us.
  • He forgives us, and
  • He sent His own Son Jesus Christ to die for us.

Let’s see what the Bible says about how to acknowledge our heavenly Father honorably and biblically. While these ten ways are not exhaustive, they are an advantageous start to keeping our minds focused on the Lord.

Ten Ways to Acknowledge God Honorably and Biblically

  1. Be obedient. (See Genesis 22:1-14)

Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” So, Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and his son Isaac; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place of which God had told him. (Gen. 22:1-3)

  1. Offer Him your sacrifices. (See 2 Chronicles 7:1-9)

Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house. (2 Chron. 7:1)

  1. Humble yourself and pray. (See 2 Chronicles 7:12-22)

And My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chron.7:14)

  1. Marvel at what He has done through His resurrection. (See Luke 24:1-12)

Nevertheless, Peter got up and ran to the tomb; and when he stooped and looked in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened. (Luke 24:12)

  1. Follow His words. (See John 21:1-14)

And He [Jesus] said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you will find the fish.” So, they cast it, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great quantity of fish. (John 21:6)

  1. Follow Him. (See John 21:15-25)

Now He said this, indicating by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had said this, He said to him, “Follow Me!” (John 21:19)

  1. Worship Him. (See Revelation 4:1-8)

And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.

And when the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and they will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed and were created.

(Rev. 4:8-11)

  1. Bless, honor, and glorify Him. (See Revelation 5:6-14)

Saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing.”

And I heard every created thing which is in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, or on the sea, and all the things in them, saying,

“To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing, the honor, the glory, and the dominion forever and ever.” (Rev. 5:12-13)

  1. Give Cheerfully. (See 2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

Each one must do just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor. 9:7)

  1.  Praise Him. (See Psalm 34:1-10)

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Ps. 34:1)

When you embark on a lifestyle of poring your love and mercy upon your heavenly Father in an honorable and biblical fashion, you will notice positive changes in your life occurring and so will others! Despite anything you are going through!

And that’s awesome!

Prayer:

Dear Lord, help me to become more honorable to You. Allow me to become more conscientious as I go through my day to appreciate the tenderness You have shown me. I am sorry for when I have failed to recognize Your movement in my life, Let Me become more like You as I practice Your righteousness in my heart and before men.

God Bless.

All Bible verses come from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).

Books by Patti Greene

Awaken Me: Growing Deeper in Bible Study and Prayer (Westbow, 2016 Reprint)

Anchor Me: Laying a Foundation in Bible Study and Prayer (Westbow, 2016 Reprint)

Answer Me: Developing a Heart for Prayer (Westbow, 2016)

Christian Caregiving: Practical Advice for a Happy Ending (Awesome Librarian, 2018)

Bible Reading Plans and Tips

Bible Reading Plans and Tips

Wishing you a “Happy New Year!”

Let me end this year by encouraging you to choose a Bible reading plan and read the Bible through in 2021. You will never regret soaking up the Word of God.

Below is a link with many different plans you can chose from. Choose one that suits you best and go for it!

Top 14 Best Bible Reading Plans – 2023

Also, here are a few tips that I have learned over the years.

1. Skip over the Bible genealogy you can’t pronounce. [At this point, knowing there’s a genealogy is enough for now, especially if this is your first read-through.]

2. Read with a pen, highlighter and notebook nearby to write down verses, questions, or things you want to look up later.

3. It is okay to read ahead. There will be days you will miss.

4. If possible, find a friend to read along with you on the same plan. [This way you will have a comrade to share with.]

5. Don’t be discouraged if you lag behind. Keep at it. So what if it takes you 1 1/2 or 2+ years to finish?

6. If you are reading a book for your Bible study class or group, count it. When you get to that book, you will be happy to have some catch-up time.

7. If you are in a plan where you are reading the entire Old Testament at once, give yourself permission to stop and read something in the New Testament.

8. Share meaningful verses with your friends and family.

9. Look for God’s sense of humor as you read. For example, today I did something rather “stupid” and the next thing I read (in my plan) was in Matthew 11:4. It said, “Go and report to John what you hear and see.”

Yikes, John is my husband’s name! I laughed when I read that. I still haven’t told him, but I will when he wakes up!!!

Best wishes and again, have a blessed 2021!

And please share this article with your friends and family!

God Bless,

greenenpastures.org

Sacred Snippet: Refilling the Pot

When the coffee pot is empty, we refill the water, the grinds, and the filter.

When this year ends, let us refill our mind, heart, and soul with the love of God!

As we approach the new year and are thinking about our New Year resolutions, we tend to think like this . . .

If I am stressed, I need to unstress.

If I am frustrated, I need to be less frustrated.

If I lust, I need to stop lusting.

If I am addicted, I need to not be addicted.

If I am proud, I need to be humble.

If I lie, I need to stop lying, and

If I am overweight, I need to stop eating.

This list could go on and on and on!

As believers, we encounter the same challenges as unbelievers. The difference is we have the power through the Holy Spirit to confront these ordeals not just in our strength, but in His.

As we face the New Year, let us commit to asking the Lord to continually show us our shortcomings and sins, then evaluate and confess them. Let us renew our relationship with Christ through daily prayer and Bible reading. Let us lay our souls bare before Him and talk to Him about EVERYTHING. He is here to hear our concerns, our weaknesses, our upcoming decisions, our plans, and our spiritual concerns. He already knows them, but by expressing ourselves to Him in either quiet meditation or loud wailing, we are connecting to the source who wants to guide up to a deeper walk with Him in holiness “. . . For He knows the secrets of our heart” (Psalm 44:21).

Below is an example of sharing one’s heart with God from Psalm 139. I challenge you to read this Hebrew prayer from King David aloud and make this prayer your prayer as we approach this upcoming year!

Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I get up;
You understand my thought from far away.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, Lord, You know it all.
You have encircled me behind and in front,
And placed Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot comprehend it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take up the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will take hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
Even darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

For You created my innermost parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully formed in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my formless substance;
And in Your book were written
All the days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

How precious also are Your thoughts for me, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

If only You would put the wicked to death, God;
Leave me, you men of bloodshed.
For they speak against You wickedly,
And Your enemies take Your name in vain.

Do I not hate those who hate You, Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
I hate them with the utmost hatred;
They have become my enemies.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
Put me to the test and know my anxious thoughts;

And see if there be any hurtful way in me,

And see if there is any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Psalm 139:1-24

Prayer:

Lord, let not anything interfere with my quiet times with You or my connection with Your church and community. Let me worship You with gratitude and live a life of perseverance in every direction You lead.

Bible Version: NASB

How God Speaks Supernaturally Through His Word

The Bible Speaks Supernaturally

You may have heard people say, “the Bible speaks supernaturally,” but what does that really mean, and how do you experience it? Those are tough questions to answer because unless you have experienced it, explaining it is hard to do. I am not an expert on this topic other than the fact I have personally experienced it. Not just once, but multiple times.

I am not talking about the everyday way the Bible speaks to mankind through Godly principles, commands, inferences, and stories; I am talking about those WOW moments when one cannot escape the fact that the Lord is speaking so directly and so powerfully that His Word enlightens us as nothing else can! For me, these verses have usually become part of my collection of “life verses” because they have made such an impact on my life at the time I received them and in my current walk with the Lord.

Author Blair Park defines a “life verse” as a Bible verse that “establishes intimacy with our heavenly Father and is our tether to remind us of His love and omnipresent nature in our daily lives, whether we feel He is near or not. A life verse also reveals to us that God’s Word is alive and still appropriate for whatever situation we might find ourselves in when our faith is tested.” ¹

Honestly speaking, if you have not experienced this, you are seriously missing out on one of the most joyous experiences in a believer’s life!

God Speaks to Us

I am often hesitant to say “God told me…” Whether it is because of fear that I might be mistaken or possibly not wanting to appear too pious, I find myself saying instead, “God impressed upon me…” It just sounds less religious and less pompous.

However, in truth, God does speak to us!

In a cursory search on Bible Gateway, I plugged in the terms God says, God said, God spoke, and God told and discovered that these terms yielded 1,030 results. ²

In John 16:13, Jesus says…

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

God may speak to us through counselors, pastors, laypeople, and others. But God mostly speaks through His Word. It is through the Bible and the Holy Spirit we can have confidence in what God reveals to us.

God Speaks to Us Supernaturally

Whenever someone uses the word supernatural or supernaturally, people get a little freaked out. They think you must be talking about the likes of mediums, channeling, and/or seances. When a believer in Jesus Christ talks about the Bible speaking supernaturally to them, they are not referring to something psychic, mystical, or paranormal. That is NOT what is being referred to here.

The Bible strictly forbids that kind of supernatural occurrence.

Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 19:31).

When the Word of God speaks to us supernaturally in the WOW kind of way, we are often desperately seeking an answer or needing confirmation that we are doing the right thing. At times like these, God may choose to give us a Bible verse or principle to hang on to through our anxious inquisitory period. But, while we may long for WOW verses, it is up to our heavenly Father when and how He speaks to us. We will just know supernaturally when we receive a special word from Him.

We must remember that He also speaks to us through other means as well like, nature, angels, our conscience, other people, commands, principles, and even in a still, small whisper as He spoke to Elijah at Horeb (1 Kings 19).

In the 1970s I had my first experience with a WOW verse. I was teaching second grade in the Fort Worth, Texas area. Apprehension and restlessness filled the beginning of the school year, so I made a deal with the Lord. I said, “Lord, I will start reading Your Word until you show me whether I should move back to my hometown of Houston or not.” After work, I would rush to my apartment and conscientiously and faithfully devour the Bible seeking an answer to my question.

I remember the morning of April 1st well. My principal stopped by my classroom and handed me my school contract for the upcoming year. He said, “I need to have this contract back and signed by 4:00 pm today.” What was I to do? God had not given me an answer yet on how to proceed, and I had already finished reading the entire Bible—Genesis to Revelation! I gave my class some busy work to do. I pulled out my Bible and started reading. And, WOW, God spoke to me in the WOW kind of way:

Just as you do not know the path of the wind, and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes everything (Ecclesiastes 11:5).

Being in a state of awe, that verse could have just as well said, “Patti, move to Houston.” I do not know how I read that into that verse. It was the supernatural Word of God speaking. I did not and still do not fully understand how this works, but that is why it is called “supernatural.” That verse gave me the confidence to turn in my unsigned contract that very afternoon.

I moved to Houston at the end of the school year, met my husband, and raised three children there. And, 43 years later, we are still in Houston (with a few brief stints elsewhere.)

No matter how we hear from the Lord—through conventional means or in a WOW way, let us graciously thank Him for all His leadings, love and insights.

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is real. He is probably the least understood person of the Trinity. It is important for us to know how the Spirit works and understand how He reveals Himself.

I would be remiss if I did not tell you that it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to understand God and His Word.

However, not everyone is privy to the things of God. The natural man (he who has not yet chosen to follow Christ) does not understand the things of God, as they seem foolish to him.

Those who have received God’s gift of salvation by confessing their sins and accepting Jesus Christ are filled with the Holy Spirit. Thus, they are qualified to understand His ways and words.

If you are a believer, pray and ask God to give you supernatural insights. Ask Him to give you a thirst for the deeper things of God and to hear from Him through His word. God reveals glorious things through the Holy Spirit because no one knows the “thoughts of God except the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:11).

Unfortunately, there are times believers are prevented from hearing from God. This may be due to unconfessed sin, pride, a controlling spirit, a desire for power, idolatry, and other reasons.

Many nominal believers do not know how to deal with deep spiritual ideas. In 3 Fold Secret of the Holy Spirit, author James H. McConkey wrote, “Many today are saved by Christ, and yet are unwilling to yield to Christ.” ³ If you find yourself in this category today, there is hope. The Holy Spirit filled you at your new birth, and now He wants to sanctify and mature you.

Think of the Holy Spirit as your helper, your source of wisdom, your provider of truth, and your interceder. Get real with God. He knows everything anyway. Confess any known sin, pray, and commit to reading your Bible—it is through these things God will reveal Himself to us.

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, so that He may be with you forever; the Helper is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17).

The Bible

The Bible was not written just for pastors, seminary students, or Christian professors. It is written for people just like you and me, regardless of our lack of ministerial training or positions. Some of the most astute Bible pastors I have known have trained themselves in the Word of God through reading and individual study.

Every time we open the Bible, it is beneficial to ask God to open our eyes so we can see wonderful things (Psalm 119:18).

The Bible gives understanding and light to the simple (Psalm 119:30).

All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

When we speak about the Word of God speaking supernaturally, we are not talking about adding anything extra to God’s Word, as some might think. We are talking about the Holy Spirit giving us an illumination into the Word which we can understand more acutely. It gives us the ability to walk away from temptation or toward a blessing.

A Bible verse may speak to you, but not to another. While a verse may be individualized for you, be wise and compare it to other Scriptures, read it in context, and ask other mature believers for clarification if you do not understand it. We must saturate our minds with the Word of God.

Some ask, “Why is it important to read the entire Bible?”

The answer lies in the fact that one part of the Bible helps us to understand other parts of the Bible. You might notice – “Oh, I read the same thing there and there.” This brings enlightenment to God’s Word and how it all ties together. But, keep in mind, it is okay if you do not understand it all. Scholars have spent their entire lives searching out the Scriptures, and so should we.

Frequently when I am reading the Bible, walking in obedience, and praying about something specific or otherwise, God speaks clearly to me through His Word. Sometimes it is in a still small voice, sometimes through a mighty WOW verse. The Lord usually uses exactly where I am in my personal Bible reading to show me His will. It is also at the exact time I need it as well—usually.

Why Don’t We Let God Speak Supernaturally to Us Through His Word?

There are many reasons why we do not allow the Holy Spirit to speak supernaturally to us through the Word of God. Below are just a few.

  • We are fearful of submitting our lives fully to God
  • Unconfessed sin. We may have sin that we are not willing to hand over to God
  • Not willing to give up time for prayer and Bible study
  • We want to be in control of our lives, and
  • We are worried others will think all this talk about the Word of God speaking supernaturally to us will be considered malarky to them.

Conclusion

Recently my mother died. It was on her mind that she wanted my husband and me to move into her home when she passed. For two years, I did pray about whether that was God’s will for us or not. I soon came to realize that was probably not His will.

Nevertheless, sadness still filled my heart once the house went up for sale, and others would have the privilege of living in my parents’ house—a house I grew up in, a house that had been in the family for 51 years, the family home for all holidays and birthdays, the house that held my wedding reception. But God in His goodness provided a verse from His Word that released me from that sorrowful thinking just a few days before the house sold.

For both husband and wife shall be taken, the aged and the very old. And their houses shall be turned over to others (Jeremiah 6:11-12).

How I read this verse…

For both your dad and your mom shall die, the aged (my dad died in his late 80s) and the very old (my mom died in her mid-90s). And their house shall be sold, and others will live in it.

Now, that is a WOW verse—spoken supernaturally through the Holy Spirit directly to me!

I hope this article has shed some light on this sometimes-perplexing topic. If it did, I would love to hear from you in the comment section.

Bible Verses:

This also comes from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who gives supernatural guidance and imparts great wisdom (Isaiah 28:29).

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come (John 16:13).

For the Word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

Prayer:

Jesus, I love You. Enlighten my eyes to the treasures in your holy Word. Guide me by Your Holy Spirit into Your truth. Speak clearly and often to me and let me hold dear all You reveal to me. Thank you for being who You are. You are loved. Amen.

God Bless,

Works Cited

¹ Parke, Blair. “What is a Life Verse and How Do I Choose One?” Accessed 20 Nov 2020. www.ibelieve.com.

² Biblegateway. Accessed 5 Nov 2020. www.biblegateway.com.

³ McConkey, James H. Three Fold Secrets of the Holy Spirit. Create Space, (originally published 1897), 2014.

Edited by E. Johnson

All Bible Verses are taken from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.

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