Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Joy of Light


Today I'm breaking it down. Verse seven of Psalm 19 that is. But go ahead and beat-box if you choose. It’s not like I'll feel the spray of spittle from here. Just sayin'.

On Monday, we looked at the whole Psalm 19 in the Message translation. 

Today, I want to look at it more in detail (just a portion) in the NKJV. I'm a fan of the NKJV and that's what I use to study with each morning, but again, it's important and beneficial to study your Bible by looking at many translations. An easy way to do this is by pulling up Biblegateway each morning, or evening when you have study time, and yes…you should be having daily study time!

We're focusing on verse 7 today.

"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;" Psalm 19:7 NKJV

Here it is in the Message translation:
"The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road."

The meanings are the same but it's said in a way that gives you a little different word picture.

God's word is perfect. Whole.

The NIV translation says, "The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul."

I don’t know about you, but I could stand to be refreshed. The way for that to happen is by studying the law of the LORD. His Word. Um…yep, the Bible. Not just skimming it out of obligation. Reading it to meet a yearly goal. But to digest it, letting it run like oxygen through the blood stream, bringing life to every organ and limb of your body and then applying what you've studied to your every day life. If you never do that, it's pointless. It's just some  head knowledge. Big deal.

*A helpful hint: Use your cross-reference if you have one in your Bible, to study. If not, use the online cross-reference at BibleGateway or Biblos!

This verse leads us to Psalm 119:130 "The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple." NKJV

I don't know about you, but I qualify here. I'm the simple. And I could use some understanding. Am I the only one? Really? That's what I thought! Then hang tight with me a few more paragraphs and let's bring this joker home!

The key word here is light. The entrance of  light i.e. reading God's Word, taking it in and digesting gives light. It gives understanding. I get that. I know what understanding and entrance mean, but what exactly does the word light mean. Am I going to implode like a firework? Will I glow like those Fisherprice worms?

Where better to get a grip on light but the first time it appears in scripture. At the beginning. Like we are at the beginning of the year. At the beginning of the Bible. Genesis. Chapter 1. The beginning.

"Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light." Gen. 1:3 NKJV

God always wanted light. From the beginning. It was the first thing He brought about. And it's been a steady topic all throughout the Bible.

photocredit: freedigitalphotos/thawats
He brought light out to the darkness and separated the two, because light and dark can't co-exist. They just can't. If you bring even the tiniest light to a dark place, it can be seen and it's not blinding dark anymore.

But before He did that, in verse two, something was happening.

"And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters."

Why?

"The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep."

photo credit: freedigitalphotos/VictorHabbick
But light was about to come. For the first time.

We have to ask some questions (that's what good students do!). What exactly does w/o form, void and dark really mean?

Without form in the Hebrew is "tohuw" and it means, "confusion, unreality, emptiness, wasteland, a place of chaos."

Void in the Hebrew is "bohuw" (similar) and it means emptiness, waste

And the word darkness in Hebrew is "choshek" and it means, obscurity--which means a state of being unknown or unimportant.

But with one word from The Word (John 1:1-3) it all changed. The Spirit was hovering over the chaos, that which seemed unimportant, a wasteland, that which seemed empty. But He saw order. He saw something beautiful and He brought light. (and He kept on going)

Do you feel unimportant? Empty? Like your life is a chaotic wasteland?

The Spirit is hovering, waiting on the Word to go forth to bring order. Peace. A purpose to your life. Just say the word and THE WORD will give the command.

Let the entrance of His words give you understanding. And light. Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ shines from us inside out. And it takes the work of the Spirit (sanctification) to do it. It also takes discipline to crack the book open.

2 Corinthians 4:6 says, "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." NKJV

The Message says it like this:
 "Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful."

Want to light up the darkness around us?  We can. The entrance of God's Words bring order to chaos. Peace to anxiety and fear. Confidence to doubt. Purpose to a wasteland. Fulfillment to emptiness.

And you know what a person has when they have peace, confidence, purpose and fulfillment?

JOY
 The joy of the Lord is our strength. Nehemiah 8:10

Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation." Isaiah 12:3

"…But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4:14 This was Jesus talking to the woman at the well. A woman who had been married five times and was now living with a man. I see chaos. Lack of purpose. Emptiness. But the Word was at the well that day.

photo credit: freedigitalphotos/Adamr
Ephesians 5:8 (MSG) says,"You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it."

"Awake you who sleep! Arise from the dead and Christ will give you light.' Ephesians 5:14

We're cleansed and transformed by the washing of the water of the Word. (Eph. 5:26) It brings light from darkness (new life from death) and it keeps giving us light to keep shining in a dark/dead world.

Which brings us back to Psalm 119:130 and ultimately our verse we began with today. Psalm 19:7 "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple."

Feel wiser? I do!

Practical application: Study your Bible just like we did now. Choose one verse. Reflect on it. Then act on it and journal it at the end of the day.

What one thing comes to mind right now that you can do to shine light today? Share it in the comments and use it as accountability to do 
that one thing!

Join me at Living By Grace. I encourage you to leave a verse about light in the comments on the FACEBOOK PAGE! Let's see if we can light it up! 

*Genesis Bible photocredit: freedigitalphotos/JanakaDharmasen

21 comments:

  1. LOVED LOVE LOVE this!!! Biblegateway is an awesome tool, I've even got the App:) And Strong's concordance--used to own a set when Hubs was in seminary, wish we still had it to page through, but thank goodness for the internet.

    You've encouraged me to get back to studying. I love taking apart the word,looking at the Greek and Hebrew, but have been totally lax lately but God's been stoking that fire...like a little light:) That Ephesians 5:8 is sticking with me today. "get on with it!"
    Great post, Jess!

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    1. I'm glad I could encourage you, Suse! I liked that phrasing too. :)

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  2. Insightful, as always. I love Biblegateway, and use it often for different translations. Those first two verses in Genesis have forever sparked my imagination. I mean, why would God create something that was characterized by confusion and chaos? I believe something happened in between those verses that the Bible doesn't tell us.

    Hmmm, first thing that comes to mind is...serve cheerfully, without complaint, and put others first. Bless you, Jess, and thanks for sharing God's Word. :-)

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    1. Biblegateway offers so much. I love their daily verse, blog and devotions. I try to take full advantage of it. We live in such a great time--where access to tools to help us grow and mature in God are readily available and FREE! :)

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  3. Great stuff Jess! I love the picture of the Spirit hovering over us, waiting... It reminds me of that verse about God singing over us (Zep 3:17 I think, but I'm too lazy to get up and check). You had a Beth Moore moment here for me today...great breakdown...and of course, great material! :)

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    1. That was one of my favorite pictures too. I watched Stop and Think video by Francis Chan, you'll have to YouTube it. It was amazing. Truly amazing! It does remind me of Him singing over me! Which always blows my mind.

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  4. I need you to post a pic of you beat boxing! Just sayin'. :) I gravitate to many different versions of Scripture, as well. It lends such a rounded picture. My 2013 verse is from NKJV, so I'm right there with you on that one. With this Psalm 19 verse, I love this line, "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." God alone converts our souls. It's not up to us. We're the messengers, not the workers of salvation. There's nothing we can say or do that "makes" a person decide whether or not to follow Christ. But lives lived out loud with the Lord's JOY make a huge impact. Hugs!

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    1. Maybe I shall send you a video beat-boxing...and you'll cook me a steak on your German smoker too. Bahahahaha! So true. What a great message of hope. We don't have to work to be saved. It's free gift. Man, that's awesome!

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  5. I love you. Just...love you! You are such a great light to all of us, especially me. Your joy for the Word and the Lord just bubble up and out into the world.

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    1. I just love, love you! :) Thanks, Linds. You are such an encouragement to me!

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  6. I think we all qualify as "the simple," compared to God! There's always so much more to learn. I love being a perpetual student of the Bible! Great thoughts today, Jessica!

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    1. I think you're right. A perpetual student...I like that! :)

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  7. I LOVE this, Jess. I love it. Have you ever thought about writing a Bible study? Maybe you already have...anyway, I would buy it and work through it for sure because you just so full of wisdom and insight. Thank you!

    And I agree with Donna...I want a photo of you beat boxing. Or better yet, a video.

    As for what I can do to share the light today...have a good attitude at work. Things are tense and crazy and wonky in our office at the moment. So much tension. I can't control circumstances, but I can control my response and attitude and hopefully act out of Christ-likeness rather than my initial me-likeness. Haha!

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    1. You are so sweet, Tagg! I have written a few studies but nothing I thought about publishing. I have a new & growing believers study that I wrote and we use it at our church. I teach on Wednesday nights. I love, love it! Maybe in the future...we'll see what God has planned! Thank you. And you may get a video when you least expect it and I might even be beat-boxing while Tebowing! Now that'd be something, huh? :)

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  8. Really enjoyed your post today and even shared again on FB. I try to let my light shine every day, just by trying to be encouraging. Hugs, Susan Fryman

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    1. Thank you, Susan. I really appreciate sharing the word. I hope and pray it encourages others! :) Hugs!

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  9. Isn't it amazing - God is speaking to SO many of His people, drawing us back to His word? Just amazing!

    I need to give up my attitude problem. You're laughing, but I need to give up my right to let something get under my skin and stew on it. The battlefield is in the mind!

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    1. I'll have you no I didn't laugh. I may...MAY have giggled for a second! But yeah, that seems to be His running theme lately, doesn't it? Guess we better get on it!

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  10. Choose to smile more instead of frown. :) Great post!

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  11. Love this thought Jess, "But to digest it, letting it run like oxygen through the blood stream, bringing life to every organ and limb of your body and then applying what you've studied to your every day life." Too often I find myself reading God's Word to check it off my To-Do list. Head knowledge is not what I'm after - I want heart knowledge! God bless!

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  12. I could leave some coffee in the pot for others???? sigh. nah. not today ;)

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