Experiencing Scripture In Your Daily Life

I’ve been reading a book. Shocker, right? It’s titled A Spirit-Empowered Church, and it’s packed with great information. I’ve read it twice in a month. One of the things that stuck out to me was the concept of experiencing Scripture rather than just learning it.

Experiencing Scripture?

It’s in the discipleship chapter, where the author Alton Garrison talks about spiritual growth. First, the

seeker is saved. Then they learn the truths of the faith.

That’s generally where it stops.

Like trees on a rocky hillside, the new disciples are stunted and unable to grow due to lack of nutrients. The third step isn’t there. Experiencing the faith, the Scriptures.

The key is to go beyond knowing, but experiencing it in your daily life. It’s asking these questions:

  • What Bible verses have I experienced today?
  • What have I lived that lines up with Scripture?

The fourth part is to express the truths of the faith by listening to and hearing God. Experiencing Scripture daily, loving everyone, and walking with, and yielding, to the Spirit.

Putting It To Practice

After reading that I had one question. What Scripture had I experienced that day? Quite a few.

I had a rough week, with a couple of people very angry with me because I disciplined them. It was experiencing John 3:20, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

The 35th Psalm was a good descriptor of my week, however, I’ll save that for my next post. During a safety meeting, I was publically attacked. I stood still, forcing a calm expression on my face, all the while simmering inside, resisting the urge to retaliate.

I was experiencing Matthew 5:39, 44-45, 48. “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

And much like Nehemiah and David, I prayed a “get them God” prayer. This is better than unloading on a person, instead, unload on Him, get it out of your system. He already knows how you feel anyway.

That’s experiencing Scripture. Try it and you’ll see how relevant the Bible still is.

What Job 1 Can Teach Us About Suffering

Suffering isn’t something we like to think of. Particularly if you live in a culture where the goal is happiness. In a naturalistic framework, suffering is the ultimate evil–killer of happiness. What does the Bible say about it? Quite a bit.

Lately, I’ve been camped out on two subjects: the problem of evil, and suffering. If you want to take Suffering 101, read the book of Job. That’s where we’ll be today, Job 1, and looking at the lessons from it.

A Philosophical Look At Job

It begins with an introduction to a man so righteous and good that only two other Old Testament characters can compare. Of course, it’s Job. Philosophically speaking, the question is, can you love God for who He is rather than what He’s done for you?

Job proves that you can. However, we learn something about the culture at the time. There were two lines of thinking then.

One is the Great Symbiosis, a line of cultural thought that says you seek favor from a deity or multiple gods by caring for them. Offerings were usually just cooking them dinner, or plying them with gifts.

A good modern day equivalent is talismans or offering something for a favor. How many of us have ‘negotiated’ with God? I have and didn’t keep my end of the bargain.

The second is the Retribution Principle. It simply states the righteous will prosper while the wicked will suffer. Karma follows the same line of thought, someone paying back what they did in a past life. You see calls for it online, “Karma will get them,” or “They’ll get what’s coming to them.”

My question is when they go through hard times, do they consider it to be their bad karma being worked off?

At the core of the Retribution Principle is justice. In a perfect world, it could work. However, we cannot avoid being affected by others’ actions, or our actions affecting others. The fact Job was the most righteous man to have ever lived at that point blew that principle out of the water.

A Personal Look At Job

This is where we turn from the philosophical to the personal. Job wasn’t guilty of anything, yet he suffered. Jesus wasn’t guilty of anything, yet the Son of God suffered. Not all who suffer are guilty of anything.

It’s not always punishment or the natural consequences of a sin. It can be because of this broken world, a personal or satanic attack. Supernatural beings aren’t using us as pawns in an undecided game. We serve an all-powerful, all-knowing God who sees and knows the end result.

Part of that was God the Son coming to earth to suffer and die for us. God knows suffering on more than an intellectual level. Suffering is actually part of the Christian life. 1st Peter is a pretty good book on it.

I don’t know who said it, but they put it like this: to the Christian, joy is at the center with suffering at the periphery. For others it’s reversed, suffering is at the center and joy is at the periphery. How can this be true?

The Christian’s joy comes from a relationship with an unchanging God.

What’s This Mean For Us?

We can’t comprehend the why of it in totality or see how far the ripples will spread. Romans 8:28 tells us God knows and He’s with us working all things–the good and bad–for the good of those who love Him, according to His purposes.

In this light, since I came with nothing, and will leave with nothing I have gotten for myself, I should–as hard as it is–give thanks in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Because as Christians, we have our salvation to be thankful for, the good to enjoy, the lessons pain teaches us so we can help others, and can rely more on God.

So cry, and run to the Father, remembering He works all things for your good according to His purposes.

Called To Be Difference Makers; Learning Under Jesus

Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions.

Jesus had just described the perfect disciple along with the values of God’s kingdom. He continues, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

Salt is a preservative. Is he saying we’re to preserve the world? The good in the world? If we don’t, we’re useless. How do we preserve good?

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

“Light of the world…” Isaiah wrote twice that we were to a light to the Gentiles, so that God’s salvation may reach the ends of the earth. What were the exact words…”I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles…”

Then there’s, “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

Yeah…

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

We’re to be the contrast, what light is to darkness; needed and different. How different are we to be as God’s representatives to the world? What about the Law?

Jesus was just getting started.

Matthew 5:13-16
Isaiah 42:6; 49:6