HERE'S HOPE

July 19, 2021

Purpose is a significant consideration, intent drives meaning.

When you understand WHY someone has done something, it helps you to put it in the proper context. It allows you to try and see something from the standpoint of the author or creator.

Knowing Jesus' intent when He chose to teach the people in parables helps you to understand an intricate web of desired outcomes. With the religious leaders of the day He intended that much of the meaning be hidden. Since they repeatedly hardened their hearts to God and chose to exalt themselves, the Pharisees, Scribes and Teachers of the Law were reaping the fruit of their folly. But Jesus intended for the parables to be memory aids and reproducible teaching tools for the disciples as they traveled and ministered.

Among the many gifts of God, one of the most precious gifts He has given us is His word. That, my friends, is because His word is more than a collection of writings; much more. The Bible makes a claim that no other books can make and support. The Bible asserts that IT IS ALIVE. In the New Testament letter to the Hebrews we read, "the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)

If you've never experienced the power of God's word impacting you directly, allow me to suggest a small personal experiment. You might begin with a section of Jesus' teaching such as the sermon on the mount (which you'll find in Matthew 5). Or perhaps you'd prefer to consider some of Jesus' parables, and read of His calming a massive storm. (You'll find those in Mark chapter 4.) Jesus teaches His disciples a lesson on praying in Luke 11. You'll find something very familiar there. Some of the words He spoke on the night before He was crucified can be found in chapter 14 of the Gospel of John.

But don't just read - READ !!! Begin by a simple prayer asking God to speak to you through His word. Even something as simple as saying, "God, I want to know you better. I want to be closer to You. As I read Your word, please speak to me by Your Holy Spirit. Make Your words come alive in me. Amen." Then, here is HOW I would suggest you conduct this experiment. Find a quiet place where you'll not be disturbed. Put your phone, if you have one, on silent; and lay it aside. Invite God to speak to you by using the prayer above, or one of your own; the specific words are not important, only the intent of the request.

Then READ your selected portion of scripture ALOUD. Read it as if you were sharing it with a young child. Be focused, and let the Lord connect you with the words. As you read aloud, listen to what you are saying. The words you are speaking and hearing will impact you, because they are filled with the very power of God.

Approaching the scriptures in this manner is aligning yourself with the intent of the author. God gave us His word to teach and encourage us. He intends that His word would give us hope.

I pray that, as you experience God's holy word, the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know the hope to which He has called you.

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