This week at church we started a new program: 40 Days in the Word. It is designed to get everyone – our pastor is praying for 100% participation – into the Scriptures everyday.
Great idea. No kidding. I have for a rather long time, 33 years, understood the importance of the Bible and have made it my personal goal to read, meditate, memorize, and apply its teachings to my life on a daily basis. I’ve had periods when it seemed impossible to fit into my busy schedule. I’ve had times when it seems I cannot function without its daily guidance. In the last few years, I have found that it is not a forced practice. I want it. It’s more like a longing. When I don’t fit it in somewhere in my day, something is just missing. It’s kind of like not saying, “I love you,” each day to my husband. I need to maintain that one-on-one contact with Jesus. Like I get in reply from my husband, I need my daily boost of Jesus’ reply to me. He says, “I love you, too.”
There are people I’ve come across in my life who place prayer in the center of their relationship with God. Prayer is one of the vital skills or tools for maintaining a relationship with Jesus. It’s the talking part. But, I need the listening part to come first. I can, and have, talked all around stuff with Jesus. I’ve yelled at Him. I’ve argued with Him. I’ve pleaded with Him. I’ve whispered in desperation to Him. But, my words do not change my life. His Words to me change my life. I need to hear Jesus’
suggestions commands on how to apply His Word to change my behavior. His Words change me. All my talking ever does is convince me my poor ways of thinking and behaving are okay.
Of course, reading the Bible like it is a nice storybook, does not change me either. After listening to the video devotion for today (available to all at www.40ditw.com), I read in Luke 6:47 out of The Message:
“These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.”
Here it is! Jesus tells us that His Words are not just for renovating our broken down lives. It is a place to begin anew to build new lives on firm, solid foundations. Lives built on the foundation of Jesus’ Words – of all of Scripture – are full of hope and healing. Hope and healing is a different life from the doom and gloom my own thoughts, feelings, and words give me. I want that foundation of hope under my life.
So, this week I begin the 40 Days in the Word program and I invite you to join in. Check out the link above, listen or watch the devotion, and open your Bible to learn why and how to listen to Jesus.