The Heart of His Word — Session 4

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Finding the way in His Word.

Today we gathered with sisters and worked our way through, past halfway, to the last leg of Psalm 119.

We hope you have a fellowship of your own to journey into The Heart of His Word. If you just found us today the past posts of our gatherings are on the blog. The devotional by Carol, one of the sisters of Sister Talk Faith, can be purchased at the shop and on Amazon.

We’re praying you come to know the heart of His Word and experience transformation in yours.


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Sharing hearts.

Our gatherings begin with a time to share our hearts with one another, uninterrupted and unquestioned.

A series of Heart Questions are provided to prompt our hearts to build fellowship.

  • What spoke to your heart most this week?
  • What questions arose?
  • What emotions surfaced?
  • What challenged you?

Carol says:

Last week’s reading highlighted: my complete dependence on God, my powerlessness to change anything, and my inability to find my way without Him.

I felt convicted for not living as a simple servant of God Most High. Not accepting my utter dependence, lack of power, and ignorance, I’ve been ungrateful and failing to trust my Master.

Lately, I’ve been a pretty bratty self-centered servant feeling the pain of others minimizing and disregarding the Master’s law and way. They are making me most unhappy. Not just with them, but if I’m honest, with God too. Why does He let them wander like this? Doesn’t He see what needs to happen? Can’t He fix it faster?!

My attitude reveals unbelief in His ability to work through what’s wrong to make it right and a heart that thinks it knows better than Him. Ugh!

The reminders of the week — my complete dependence on Him, and the need for His Word to find my way — restored a proper perspective. Gently, He put me back in my place and enabled me to give Him His rightful place in creation: slave to Master. sheep to Shepherd. servant to King.  

But He’s not just any King, Shepherd, Master. He is perfect in knowledge, power, insight, understanding, and a keeper of His promises. Nothing is ever too big a problem for Him. Nothing surprises Him or makes Him grumpy. He is Creator and Keeper of the world for a reason: He Is.

My place, the way I’m to go, is to serve and follow with complete trust, for He is utterly trustworthy. 

This week in His Word, He showed me the way to walk through trouble trusting Him the same way Jesus did when He went to the cross — for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). Every step closer to death, no matter how tortuous, is a necessary part of reaching the point of resurrection on the way to making all things right and a reason to rejoice.

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Stacy says:

The psalmist’s authentic approach to his conversations with God spoke to my heart and challenged me to do the same. I saw sheer joy and a determined faith combined with grief and hunger. One moment the psalmist was panting with a wide open mouth for more, and the next streams of tears are flowing down his face. Lately I’ve felt the same. I’ve experienced joy and grief in less than an hour. One morning I loudly sang praise to the Lord as I got ready for the day. The same evening I was a puddle in the bathtub. 

It’s a challenge to admit to myself and God when I’m struggling or grieving and even more of a challenge to let others in on it. I find encouragement in the psalmist’s words.

This might be the best kept secret of authentically sharing our up and down life with others: it lets them know they are not alone.

Reviewing the readings.

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After sharing hearts, we review what we read. Talk about what we saw and heard and experienced in His Word. Point out to one another where we found aspects of God’s Word to sustain us on our spiritual journeys: Bread, Light, Truth and Weapons.

Day 12: Lamedh, Psalm 119:89-96

Truth: Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides. They continue this day according to Your ordinances… Psalm 119:89-91 NKJV. (Emphasis added.)

His Word is settled in heaven. Settled meaning firmly fixed and upright (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon). It holds firm in the eternal realm. God’s faithfulness to His Word makes way for every generation to endure. We still exist because of His faithfulness to His promises. The earth and all creation is established and founded on His Word. Therefore it remains.

We only are because He is faithful to His Word.

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:17 NIV

This truth keeps us firm and steady when our worlds seem to be rocking and rolling. To know His Word holds it all together, means He holds us together too.

Amen.

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Light: To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless (v. 96 NIV). All earthly perfection has its limits. The perfect we see in others. The idea we have in our minds of what a perfect life might look like. Perfect homes, perfect relationships, perfect looks. None are without limits.

Any earthly thing we place hope in for perfection will only disappoint in the end. Yet God’s law, living in right relationship with Jesus, has no limits and leads us on to perfection. 


Day 13: Mem, Psalm 119:97-104

Light:

Stacy Says:

As I read wiser than my enemies more insight than all my teachers… more understanding than the elders (vs. 98-100 NIV), it felt a bit prideful. As if the psalmist is tooting his own horn, and proclaiming, “I’ve outgrown all of you.”

This day’s Hebrew letter, Mem, is for “from.” What I realized, though it took some digging past the words to the heart of the writer, is he knew exactly where he came from. It is not an “I know more than you” attitude. 

Instead I hear, “I’ve come a long way from where I started.” He looked back and recognized God took what he learned through teachers, mentors, and elders and used it to grow him to this point.

Those who invested in me began the work God continues today, and I am beyond grateful. For I too have come a long way. As a leader these words give me great hope. It is my heart’s desire that God will take what little I give to others and use it to grow them closer to Him. I pray they too can proclaim, “I have more insight than all my teachers.”

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Truth: for you yourself have taught me (v. 102 NIV). There comes a time in our spiritual maturity when we recognize God is trustworthy to teach us. 

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
John 14:26 ESV

Ponder and Pray: How do you take His Word to heart?

Carol says:

Again, I confess being in this odd place of walking through a Bible study I wrote and pondering previously unanswered questions posed in the writing process. This particular question — How do you take His Word to heart? — spurs a teaching. Or at the very least, a desire to share my answer with you.

I learned from another teacher that our heart is the sum of our mind + will + emotion. So, taking His Word to heart is a process of moving it into our thought life, our desires, and emotions.

My study of His Word doesn’t end with shutting a study guide or leaving behind notes and highlights in my Bible. I try to take whatever I learn with me and obey it to the utmost of my faith and understanding. I’ll confess, it’s a process that has led me into some trouble, but He always corrects, and I learn even more. (Some unforgettable lessons.)

I question Him about His Word. Things I don’t understand or what it might look like to flesh out a word in my life. I meditate on Scripture through memorization and by writing paraphrases using definitions of words that catch my attention.

The process of taking His Word to heart, for me, always involves a self-examination of my thoughts, desires, and emotions compared to what His Word says. Am I in agreement with Him or not? 

If not, I prayerfully ask God what’s at the root of the discrepancy between His Word and me. Asking Him to change my mind, will, and emotions to match His Word is a way of spiritual healing and revealing of faith issues.

Taking His Word to heart brings transformation.


Day 14: Nun, Psalm 119:105-112

Bread: Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart (v. 111 ESV). It is no accident we are drawn to good stories. Stories that testify to God’s work in the lives of His people. Testimony means “a solemn declaration, an outward sign, an open acknowledgement” (Merriam-Webster’s). All Scripture is God’s solemn declaration of love for us and this nourishes the soul.

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Truth: I am afflicted very much; revive me, O Lord, according to Your Word (v. 107 NKJV). …Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart (v. 111 NKJV). (Emphasis added.)

We find some stark contrasts in the psalmist’s song regarding his experience with God’s Word: affliction and rejoicing. Throughout this stanza, we see his desire to learn and follow God’s Word in a world that is out for his blood (v. 109, 110)!

The truth to glean from these dichotomies is the both/and nature of His Word. Difficulties arise when we choose to live set apart from the world by His Word. Affliction comes our way from those in the dark who find light offensive. Yet when we claim His Word as our heritage, we experience great joy (v. 111)!

Understanding the both/and of God keeps us steady in a world that only embraces either/or.


Day 15: Samekh, Psalm 119:113-120

Weapon:

Stacy says:

Sometimes reading God’s Word is more like a conversation with the Holy.

Me: I hate double-minded people (v. 113). Me too Lord! It drives me nuts when I see others speak one thing and live another.

Spirit: That would be you.

Me: Ouch that stings. Okay Lord, show me the places I am double-minded.

I have to admit I laughed at myself. Oh, the tendency I have towards a prideful attitude. God knows it. I know it. And so He keeps me “in check” when it comes to judgement of others. Long ago, I asked him to because I had a stinking prideful attitude, and it was a long hard fall I never want to experience again. I read those words and God used them to remind me of my weakness. 

Our short conversation is all it took to put me in my place and bring me to repentance. I am double-minded, but I do love His law. Like a surgeon repairing a patient’s heart, God’s Word does the same in our hearts. It removes all that stands in the way of His work in us, and becomes the very weapon we use to defeat the enemy.

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. –Ephesians 6:16-18 ESV (emphasis mine).

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Day 16: Ayin, Psalm 119:121-128

Truth: Be surety for Your servants for good; do not let the proud oppress me (v. 122 NKJV). Surety. God’s pledge, assurance, guarantee, of His Word for His servants’ good is a powerful truth to help us stand firm against the proud who oppress, squash, and crush. By His Word, we are sure to endure.

Weapon: It is time for the Lord to act, for your law has been broken (v. 126 NIV). Some seasons we become greatly aware of the way God’s law is broken in the world. Like the psalmist we cry out, “God do you see what they are doing? It’s time for you to do something about this!”

Yet, we are not called to set things right in the world. We are called to stand firm, clothed with the full armor of God, defending ourselves with the shield of faith, and holding tight to the one weapon we have which is God’s Word. We must be careful how we use this weapon. For God’s Word is not meant for us to use to attack others, but to help us stand firm in the midst of all the broken.


Day 17: Pe, Psalm 119:129-136

Bread:

Carol says:

In the whole of this stanza I hear the words of a hungry wanderer. Hungry for God’s direction, mercy, and love. 

The psalmist doesn’t want to wander down a wrong path (v. 133) or be led astray by fear of man (v. 134). Make Your face shine on Your servant… In these words I hear a desperation to please God and learn from him. Sorrow overwhelms him as he watches others reject God’s way, a mix of compassion and fear of doing the same.

I hear the heart of a man who understands his need for God and His Word. Someone who gets just how much he needs spiritual nourishment on his journey through this world. 

Faith in God and His Word is the primary fuel we need for life. 

Lord, make me hungry for Your Word and Way.

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Light: The unfolding of your word gives light, it imparts understanding to the simple (v. 130). God’s Word unfolds little by little. Light shines brighter and brighter. The deeper we dive into God’s Word the more we understand who we are in measure to His wisdom. We are simple.

The last leg.

Only one more gathering to go. The last leg of our journey. We’ve made it past halfway and it’s time to press on to the end.

We hope you are enjoying the journey and that the last week of study will not be a chore but a delight. We pray you discover even more spiritual resources to fuel your faith and inspire you to draw nearer to Him through His Word.

For Session 5: Read

  • Day 18: Tsadhe, Psalm 119:137-144
  • Day 19: Qoph, Psalm 119:145-152
  • Day 20: Resh, Psalm 119:153-160
  • Day 21: Shin, Psalm 119:161-168
  • Day 22: Taw, Psalm 119:169-176
  • Afterword

Father, Son, Holy Spirit thank You for the life and freedom You provide. Teach us to walk in Your truth with joy and peace.

Praying for your journey.

Stacy & Carol

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