Friday, 6 November 2015

Abiding … not just visiting

Photo courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
My twenty-five-plus years in the Corporate world mostly reflected a life where I chased after my goals and fulfilled that sense of achievement that drives many of us men. Typically, my relationship with the Lord was one where I’d grab a few minutes in the Word prior to leaving home and then pray on the drive into the office.

Once I’d parked my car it was like I said to the Lord: “Thanks for that, Lord, I’ll see you back here in ten hours or so.” And off I’d go ready to dive into the rigours of the day rarely giving the Lord a thought. Or if I was feeling particularly stressed I might pop into the bathroom to have a quick chat with the Lord to seek His help.

I’d compartmentalized my life. I allowed (you kidding?) the Lord access to various parts of my life. Yes, I prayed, read the Word (well kinda) and went to church.

Then a few years ago the yearning in my heart for something more kept getting stronger. Until one morning I asked the Lord what He wanted from me.

“Ian, I want you to know Me!”

That almost floored me. I’d been a Christian for almost thirty years, the troughs in my walk definitely outnumbering the peaks. But hey, most of my friends were experiencing much the same.

So I asked the obvious question?

“How do I do that?”

The response was immediate.

“Read my Word.”

So that’s what I started doing. Every day. And I haven’t stopped five years on.

But I’ve learnt there’s more to it than simply reading it. Or listening to it. Or watching it.

And that’s one of the characteristics of what differentiates an abider to a visitor.

Speaking the Word

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8)

I love that image of keeping the Word on your lips. To do that you really need to have it constantly in your mouth like a piece of gum.

I’ve found the only way to do this is to actively memorise Scripture and use it in your prayers. 

Only two days ago I received the perfect example of its' power.

I stumbled across Ephesians 4:32:

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (NKJV)

Pretty simple. I’ve always thought I’m pretty good with being kind and tenderhearted but the Lord nudged me to pay more attention to the verse and commit it to memory. So I did.

The message at church that night was on the Beatitude: “Blessed are the merciful …”(Matthew 5:7). I’d recently studied the beatitudes and I figured this one came relatively naturally to me. The pastor emphasized how easy it was for us to find fault in others, to criticize and judge but a merciful heart is one that doesn’t seek to do such. It opened my eyes to another perspective on mercifulness that I hadn’t fully appreciated.

And my newly locked away memory verse kept floating through my mind as I jotted down notes to the sermon.

I went home challenged and within about half an hour of being home found fault in something Fiona did.

Don’t you love that? The first small test you get in obedience you get sprung!

Dorrrr!

We had a big day ahead the next day preparing the house so that our floorboards could be sanded and polished. I apologized to Fi and went to bed repeating, “Be kind …” and asking the Spirit to help me be kind and tenderhearted the following day.

I woke with that verse on my lips and repeated it throughout the day and we had a great day shifting the house around.

May I encourage you to learn a verse this week. Ask the Lord for one, if one doesn’t particularly come to mind.

And those of us who are experienced Scripture memorisers it would be a treat if you could share a little of your system for memorising.

Blessings for a special week ahead.





Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Sydney, Australia. Ian's first novel, Angelguard, is available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter

15 comments:

  1. What a refreshing challenging start to my morning. Thanks Ian. Now I must go and open my Bible app.

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    1. Hi Jo, I'm pleased you found this post an encouragement to open your Bible app. I trust the verse you read brought much refreshment and hope.

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  2. Thanks so much, Ian, for your clear, honest and practical reminder re keeping God's Word 'on our lips' throughout our day. I have almost finished going through a particular Scripture reading program that proved very beneficial but am looking forward just to reading various books of the Bible again by myself, listening to God and journalling as I go. But I really appreciated your encouragement to commit verses to memory--something I haven't deliberately done for ages! I can still remember some we had to learn as Billy Graham Crusade counsellors way back in the sixties though, so that shows how God's Word can stick in our hearts and minds.

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    1. Thanks Jo-Anne. I have resisted the whole memorisation thing for years too. But now I can't stop it as I find it so useful in my daily life. I love your testimony of still recalling all those verses you memorised so long ago. I met Jesus at the 1979 Billy Graham Sydney Crusade, something I sure won't forget.

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  3. Thanks Ian. I really appreciate your reflection of what life was like in the corporate world, as it's surely how many people order their time. Your timely reminder to put first things first, and how to go about it, has been a good one for me too.

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    1. Thanks Paula. It's so easy for us to put other things first but the Word is so good.

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  4. You're always such an encouragement, Ian. Thanks for reminding us of the power of scripture.

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    1. Thanks, my friend. Dotti, the enemy particularly hits us hard at times like book launches. Keep standing and holding Jesus close. I'm praying God sends His angels to clear the runway of all the debris the enemy throws in your path.

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  5. Always appreciate your wisdom and thoughts, Ian. Anyone who knows you can attest to your commitment to the Lord and desire to care for others.

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    1. Thanks so much, Rel. Sendings hugs down the wires your way, my dear friend.

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  7. Great reminder to always keep the Word of God first place in life. I used to pray like you years ago until a similar thing happened. What a trip it's been since! Thanks for sharing.

    Paul

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    1. Hi Paul, great to have you pop on over and thank you for your comment. I hope we might get to read/hear of your testimony in the near future. The Word is good.

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  8. Thanks, Ian, for your reminder of the importance of taking God's Word to heart. And how blessed we are to have it in any version we choose. Especially when in some countries they don't have that privilege. And in so many ways it prepares you for what the day might bring. It sure is our soul food.

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    1. Lovely to hear from you, Rita. Yes, we are very fortunate to have access to so many versions of the Bible.

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