Did you ever put together a puzzle? Did you ever buy one because you just loved the picture it made, and took it home, and pulled the pieces out, found all the straight edges and the corners, put the frame together, got one one or two sections together and then you figured you take a break, but that break lasted three weeks? Or maybe you never went back to it; it sat wherever it was, taking up space, till you got tired of looking at it and moving it around because it was in the way, and just stuck it back in the box, thinking you'd eventually get back to it.
God's word is kind of like that. I love reading the Word. I love memorizing it; but it's difficult! I sort of liken memorizing scripture to a great big puzzle. The largest, most interesting, complicated, beautiful puzzle that ever was.
Let's say you start putting together this puzzle, and you come across this one piece that's just beautiful. In fact, it's the most beautiful ________ you've ever seen; angel, animal, teacup, whatever your hobby is, this one piece represents. And you just love this one piece, and are happy for a while just looking at that one, and its even in the right area in the puzzle.
This represents the individual verses we memorize. We come across a verse, or even a couple of verses, that really speak to the heart and think, 'oh! I love that! I'm going to memorize that'!
Ok, so you get that the more you memorize the more of the 'big picture' you get. But it's more than that. Imagine that the sixty-six books which make up the Bible are sixty-six puzzles. You take that one beautiful piece, and you start building around it, and you don't stop until one
entire puzzle is pieced together. Did you ever finish a puzzle? What did you want to do with it? Hang it up, right? Look what I did! I did that all by myself!
And it took FOR-E-VER!
There is NO greater satisfaction than memorizing large portions of scripture. Reading the Bible sometimes becomes just words on a page. Concepts are repetitive; words are repetitive and difficult to understand. But memorizing transforms the words. And when you get to the end of (memorizing) a chapter, you UNDERSTAND. The verses all fit together and become one line of thought that you can actually comprehend. It becomes meaningful and marvelous! There's a depth to it that you would never have understood before. Not only will you understand what you thought was there, but NEW concepts will be revealed that you DIDN'T know were there - almost like a puzzle within a puzzle. Two for one, right? What woman doesn't go for THAT?
I know now why David said the Word was sweeter than honey to him. You have to think outside the box sometimes. He wasn't saying he loved the words 'thee' or 'thou' or 'Spirit'. The Word can't be truly loved if it's disjointed like that. Only when it comes together as a whole can you fully appreciate the love, the majesty, the sacrifice of God and our eternal, undeserved position in Christ.
These too will be just words, unless you get serious about memorizing. Don't just read the Word. OWN it!
Fight the good fight!
(Titus is a good place to start)
If you don't subscribe to the rss feed for the Bill Rice devotionals, you should. They're quite thought provoking. The title given for today's devo was, 'Leaving is Following', with the implied question of, what have you left to follow Christ?
Well, what is he talking about, exactly? Salvation? Service? Both? The Biblical examples he gives are of the Lord's calling of the disciples. When Simon, Andrew, James and John were called, they dropped what they were doing, left their livelihood, friends and family, and followed Him. Was this their call to salvation, their call to service, or both?
Really, and truly, I think it doesn't matter. Both the acceptance of salvation and the life-long walk of a Christian call us to leave something or someone on a continual basis; a job, a friend, a relative, a thought process, a location, an act undone, a word unsaid. The list is endless.
So the next question would be, what have I left? Sure, I can name what I left many years ago at salvation, or I can name what I left (not so many years ago) to be in His service. But are these all I have? Do I have no more (recent) proof of my love for Him? What did I give up for Him yesterday? What did I sacrifice for Him last week? What, or whom, did I leave?
The life of a Christian is one of inconvenience. And Americans, in general, hate that. I've had to leave a few things. I've had to sacrifice a few things. In this I have nothing to brag about, because I know - though I can not fully understand - what was sacrificed for me. God, in His mercy, love and grace, rewards ('eye hath not seen, nor ear heard' ICor 2:9), those who are faithful, those who sacrifice themselves for Him. The reward(s) do outweigh the bad, if we will but obey; but to obey is to be inconvenienced.....
My heart's cry is to be shown where and when I am to follow, and that He give me the strength and courage to leave whenever, whatever, or whomever I must, 'that God in all things may be glorified' IPeter 4:11