Psalm 119 is possibly my favorite chapter in all of the Bible. The Psalm is full of beautiful allegory and language that washes over my heart with a new love for God and His Word every time. Recently, I began reading a commentary on Psalm 119 by Charles Bridges (highly recommend) and was struck by what Bridges had to say about verse 15 which says "I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways." Here is what Bridges said:
"Our rejoicing in the testimonies of God will naturally flow in a habitual meditation in them. The thoughts follow the affections... But this meditation not only includes the stated times of thought, but the train of holy thoughts, that pass through the mind during the busy hours of the day. This maintains an habitual flow of spiritual desires, and excites the flame of love within, till at length the Psalmist's resolution becomes the inwrought habit of our minds."
What is Bridges talking about? He is talking about Godward thinking in everyday life. Notice that he says a habitual meditation on the Scripture is not something that should happen at set times in the day (though that is helpful and certainly recommended), but that even in the "busy hours of the day" holy thoughts, as Bridges calls them, should pass through the mind.
This is convicting.
The reason being that in the busiest hours of the day, I often fail to have Godward thinking. In fact, sometimes my thinking in the busiest hours of the day can have a sinful bent to it. Rather its anxiety, a bad attitude because I have so much to do, or just plain worry because I'm not sure how I'm going to complete all I have to do, my thinking cannot be described as Godward. So how are you and I to have Godward thinking in the everyday life? Three things...
1. Memorize the Bible
We need to do this. We cannot have our minds renewed without it. We cannot be a strong tree planted by streams of flowing water (Psalm 1) without this. So let's do it. Find an app (Fighter Verse, Memverse, etc.), write a passage down on a note card, memorize a whole book like Philippians, Colossians, or 1 John, but whatever you do, memorize the Bible. For when we do, the Spirit brings to memory His Word in our minds when we need it most.
2. Pray the Bible
Every time you read the Bible you should be praying the Bible. I have referenced it before, but Donald Whitney's book Praying the Bible is so helpful in this regard. When we pray the Bible, the Spirit applies it to our lives and minds. We remember it easier. How much Scripture goes in and out of the mind without ever reaching the heart through prayer?
3. Study the Bible
Godward thinking is produced on the ground of diligent, thoughtful study. Study the Bible. Buy a Bible reference book or commentary to help guide you into the depths of the Bible. I personally love the Geneva Bible Commentary series by Banner of Truth.
Memorize, pray, and study the Bible. Let's trust God and see Him flood our minds with great thoughts of Him by committing ourselves to these things.
What do you do when your spouse disappoints you? How do you respond? What do you think, say, do?
In the video below, taken from the True Marriage retreat put on by Acts29, Ray and Jani Ortlund answer the question many of us are asking: How am I to respond in a Gospel-centered way when my spouse disappoints me?
I've recently been reading a book entitled Thoughts for Young Men by J.C. Ryle. In one part of the book he writes, "Determine as long as you live to make the Bible your guide and adviser." Amen...
Luckily J.C. Ryle knew that his readers would ask such a thing, so he gives three things that we can to make our Bibles our guide and adviser:
1. Read It With Prayer.
"A man may as soon read the letter of Scripture without eyes, as understand the spirit of it without grace." Scripture should be read through the lens of prayer so that the Spirit might help us understand what the Scripture is actually saying to us. I have found Don Whitney's book on Praying the Bible incredibly helpful in this regard.
2. Read It Reverently.
"Read it as the Word of God, not of man, believing implicitly that what it approves is right, and what it condemns is wrong." Ryle reiterates this point throughout many of his books. God's Word is not to be read like any other book, it is to be read as God's Word.
3. Read It Regularly.
"That is the only way to become 'mighty in the Scriptures' (Acts 18:24). A hasty glance at the Bible now and then does little good. At that rate you will never become familiar with its treasures, or feel the sword of the Spirit fitted to your hand in the hour of conflict. But get your mind stored with Scripture, by diligent reading, and you will soon discover its value and power." Ryle liked to emphasize the importance of Bible intake (reading large chunks of the Bible). The reason for this is because the Spirit can use the Word that you read to change you, comfort you, and help you in a time of need.
We would do well to adhere to Ryle's words and treasure the Bible.
Don't waste your cancer.
This is the message John Piper wanted to get across when he wrote his 18-page book with that very title. Maybe you or someone you know and care for is in a season of trial called cancer. How are you/they to use this trial for the glory of God and the good of others?
Below are 11 ways that Piper says cancer can be wasted. I encourage you to read his explanation of these points in his book below (you can read it below or download it to read later).
1. We waste our cancer if we don’t hear in our own groanings the hope-filled labor pains of a fallen world.
2. We waste our cancer if we do not believe it is designed for us by God.
3. We waste our cancer if we believe it is a curse and not a gift.
4. We waste our cancer if we seek comfort from our odds rather than from God.
5. We waste our cancer if we refuse to think about death.
6. We waste our cancer if we think that “beating” cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.
7. We waste our cancer if we spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God.
8. We waste our cancer if we let it drive us into solitude instead of deepen our relationships with manifest affection.
9. We waste our cancer if we grieve as those who have no hope.
10. We waste our cancer if we treat sin as casually as before.
11. We waste our cancer if we fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ.
I am a Husband to Clarissa, Pastor at Liberty Baptist Church, reader of many books, and tweeter at @brad_merchant.