Category Archives: Devos

Confessions of a “Bible Underliner”

Psalm 145 UnderlinedOK, I admit it… I’m an “underliner!” When I read the Bible or a really good, thought-provoking book I can’t help myself – I reach for a pencil, pen or highlighter and begin underlining the key ideas, the though-provoking concepts, or the best the author has to say. I know there are other people just like me… we ought to start a support group. A favorite “Bartelism” of mine? “Any book worth its salt should be marked up” – Oh, and another one; “If you have a problem marking up your Bible… get over it!”

Well today it happened… I knew it would! (To be completely truthful I have to admit it’s happened a few times before today, however.) During my devotions I started reading a passage in my Bible… and underlined a few verses at the very beginning of the passage… then read a few more and they were so good I had to underline them too… read a few more and I said to myself, “how could I not underline those as well… kept reading and underlining, and by the time I had finished the passage… You guessed it – I HAD UNDERLINED THE WHOLE PASSAGE!!!

You want to know what passage don’t you? Well it was Psalm 145! In fact, by the time I finished I’d written this in the margin of my Bible: “I’m gonna worship You! Gonna praise Your Name forever! … Gonna commend Your works one generation to the next!”

Read it! I dare you!! See if your response isn’t something like mine (perhaps minus all the underlining!) 

How to get a case of “heartburn” – the good kind!

Acid reflux in old womenHeartbroken, bewildered, disillusioned… The One on whom they had placed their hopes, dreams and aspirations was accused, abused, and then crucified like a criminal! Their teacher, the miracle worker, the one who refuted and shamed the “wise guys” of the day, was apparently not the “messiah” they thought him to be – instead there he was, in a sealed tomb! With their heads down and their hearts heavy they traveled toward Emmaus, mumbling about the sad state of affairs…

Then this guy shows up and begins walking along with them… He asked what they were talking about and acted like he didn’t have a clue about what had been going on. They “informed” Him… and then He began to take over the conversation…

“And He said to them, ‘O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself!” Then they got to Emmaus and He acted like He was going on further, but they invited Him to stay with them awhile… He agreed and then, the miracle! As they were preparing to enjoy a meal together He took the bread, blessed it and broke it and gave it to them, and their eyes were opened! It was Him! Their Lord – Jesus Himself – the One they thought was dead was alive! And then “poof” – just like that, He disappeared! (From Luke 24:25-31)

“Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?!” (Luke 24:32)

Now that’s a case of heartburn – the good kind!” And there have been several times in my own life with the Lord that I’ve experienced it! Discouraged, despondent, disturbed, down-in-the-mouth and I started my devotions (I call mine “coffee with the Lord”)… I began by spending some time reading God’s word, had a good conversation with the Lord in prayer, and before long I discovered that the Holy Spirit had come alongside, opened up the truth of Scripture to me, and it wasn’t long before “my heart burned within me!” A good case of “heartburn” let me tell you! I recommend it! I don’t know how you feel today or what you’re facing, but some time spend with the Lord is probably just what you need!

Worthy? Worthy of what? Who is worthy anyway?

I’ve watched people receive different awards, as have you… There’s the guy that acts like “Well, it’s about time! I’ve excelled, done stellar work, helped the organization get its name noticed, and I really should have been honored for what I’ve done a long time ago!” Then there is the person who with authentic humility receives an honor, actually blushes at the high praise that is heaped upon him, and stumbles a bit saying “I only did what was expected of me to the best of my ability… Frankly, it was an honor to serve and work with the wonderful colleagues I had the privilege of serving with!”

Hey, I can tell you which of the two leaves those who attend the awards ceremony feeling like the individual “deserved” a high honor!

Listen, something is terribly wrong if a person in the Lord’s work feels like they’re “worthy” of anything! … I can tell you what we’re all “worthy” of, and it’s scary! We’re worthy of God’s judgement – NOT His mercy and grace.

I read a passage this morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” that helped me keep the right perspective… A passage written by Apostle Paul to young Timothy, his spiritual protégé…

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to His service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent! But I received mercy… and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus! The saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance, that ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,’ of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost< Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life! [And then I can see the great apostle pause for a moment – choke up with emotion – raise his arm and finger toward the heavens, and proclaim…] To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever! Amen!” (From 1 Timothy 1:12-17)

Yes, I want Apostle Paul to be my example! If there is anything worthy of honor – anything worthy of praise – in anything I do for the Lord… It’s certainly not because I am worthy (I can tell you what I’m worthy of!). It’s because He is worthy! It’s because of His grace! Hear me… “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be ALL the honor and glory forever and ever! AMEN!!!

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