To God be ALL The Glory!!!
The Word says:
God’s aim for us is that we be set on a two-railed train track in the direction of holiness and love and mission and heaven. The two rails of this train are prayer before the throne of God and meditation on the word of God. Some of you may remember the second page of our Mission Statement booklet, “The Spiritual Dynamic.” It says,
We join God the Father in magnifying the supremacy of his glory through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, by treasuring all that God is, loving all whom he loves, praying for all his purposes, meditating on all his word, sustained by all his grace.
Praying before the throne of God and meditating on the word of God are like parallel rails that enable the train of our souls to stay on the track that leads to holiness and heaven. We need to renew our zeal for prayer and Bible mediation at the beginning of the year. Everything gets old and worn and weak without re-awakening and renewal and restoration. So during Prayer Week every year we rivet our attention on these great and precious things in order to rekindle our passion for prayer and the word.
We have started sharing re: Psalm 119, let us continue along those lines, Amen
3 Things to Learn from Psalm 119:18
Two messages which grow out of Psalm 119:18.
“Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law.”
This verse combines prayer and The Word, and we need to see how, so that we can combine them this way in our lives and in our congregations. There are three things that we learn from this verse.
“We cannot even see what the word really is without God’s supernatural help.”
1. There are wonderful things in the word of God.“Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from your law.” The word “law” is “Torah” and means “instruction” or “teaching” in this Psalm. There are wonderful things in God’s teaching to us.
In fact, they are so wonderful that when you really see them, they change you profoundly and empower holiness and Love and missions (2 Corinthians 3:18). Which is why reading and knowing and meditating on and memorizing The Word of God is so crucial.
2. No one can see these wonderful things for what they really are without God’s supernatural help. “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from your law.” If God does not open our eyes, we will not see the wonder of The Word. We are not naturally able to see spiritual beauty. When we read The Bible without the help of God, the glory of God in the teachings and events of the Bible is like the sun shining in the face of a blind man. Not that you can’t construe its surface meaning, but you can’t see the wonder, the beauty, the glory of it such that it wins your heart.
3. We must pray to God for supernatural illumination when we read the Bible. “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from your law.” Since we are helpless in ourselves to see spiritual beauty and the wonder of God in the teachings and events of the Bible without God’s gracious illumination, we should ask him for it. “Open my eyes.”
No, this isn’t a criticism of private devotional times. Rather, we are not able to read our Bibles without help from the very one we are trying to see and hear from in our Bible reading. God himself gives us understanding when we read our Bibles, and without his help, we can do nothing.
But when we say this, it must not be taken to mean that we open our Bibles, sit back, close our eyes, and wait for God talk to us. As with everything in the Christian life, we must “work hard” at understanding the Bible, though it is “not [us], but the grace of God” (1 Corinthians 15:10). It is precisely in the very natural, hard work of reading and laboring to understand meaning where God illumines our minds to understand with spiritual eyes — not merely natural understanding (1 Corinthians 2:14–15) — the word of God.
We have shared re: The birth of Jesus. I shared that as opposed to ‘drama’ that depicts the shepherds that were told of the birth of Christ…
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”
Amazingly, I was blessed to be blessed with understanding, Amen
“When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem and paid homage to Herod, saying,
“Where is the newborn King of the Jews?
We saw His star at its rising
and have come to do Him homage.”
When king Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled (why? A King? This was his region!)
and all Jerusalem with him (it was made clear that a multitude was made aware! Not just people on the ‘grounds’ of the ‘palace’.)
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people (same group that conspired to kill The Christ! Makes you really wonder!)
He inquired of them where The Christ was to be born (again, of the studied and well read: schooled in the law/Scripture/His-story (not understanding ‘their’ place at the time.)
They said to king Herod, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly (again this points to the timeline – not the stable as we are taught, Jesus was born at this time and The star led them to His location, Amen)
and ascertained from the magi who had traveled from a far, the time of the star’s appearance.
There is an Armenian tradition identifying the “Magi of Bethlehem” as Balthasar of Arabia, Melchior of Persia, and Gaspar of India. Historian John of Hildesheim relates a tradition in the ancient silk road city of Taxila (near Islamabad in Pakistan) that one of the Magi passed through the city on the way to Bethlehem.
Herod then sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for The cChild.
When you have found Him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do Him homage.”
In the New Testament, the Massacre of the Innocents is the incident in the nativity narrative of the Gospel of Matthew in which Herod the Great, king of Judea, orders the execution of all male children two years old and under in the vicinity of Bethlehem. Most modern biographers of Herod, and probably a majority of biblical scholars, dismiss Matthew’s story as an invention. (So much to say on this! IF in fact it IS an invention, examine historically IF there was EVER a slaughter of infants.)
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where The child was. (Not where He was born!)
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house (Not Manger),
they saw The Child with Mary His mother.
They prostrated themselves and did Him homage.
The action of lying stretched out on the ground.
synonyms: collapse, weakness, debility, lassitude, exhaustion, fatigue, tiredness, enervation, emotional exhaustion;
“prostration from the heat”
• the state of being extremely weak or subservient.
“the refusal to call a strike reflects the union leadership’s prostration before the company”
• extreme physical weakness or emotional exhaustion
Then they opened their treasures
and offered Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.