Monthly Archives: January 2008

8. “ACCEPTABLE in Thy Sight. . . “

(I hope you’ll always refer primarily to the verse(s)  we have under consideration.  And prayerfully form your own views before you think about what anyone else thinks. -dk) 

          Acceptable in Your sight. . . what does that mean?  Just a passing grade?  Barely getting by?  The Bible speaks about people who use that approach and escape God’s judgment and are “saved, yet so as by fire”… they got out, just in the “nick of time,”  or by the “skin of their teeth.”  …but they got singed.  Is that acceptable?  If at the last minute you cram for an exam, and just barely squeak by. . .   Is that acceptable?  In God’s sight?         

          Will that result in hearing Him at the end of the run say to you:  “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter the joys of your Lord.”? 

          If we hope for the best and the most God has to give, can we expect to give Him the last and least we have to offer?  There’s a place in Scripture where God says: “My people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”  That is not acceptable.   There is an old Christian song which asks what we should give the Master in return for all He has done and is doing.  It answers:  “Not just a part, or half of my heart.  I will give ALL to Thee.” The book of Romans says that is your “reasonable” or “acceptable” response to such love.

           Your best may not be very much as far as the world can see.  But, just as Jesus blessed and accepted the “widow’s quarter (mite), He will appreciate, accept . . . and use what you give.  A little boy with only five biscuits and a couple of small fish gave his lunch to Jesus once when He was here.  That little gift was so “acceptable” that the Lord decided to bless and multiply it and feed thousands with it.  And inspire us by that example here today!        

          How can I ever be “acceptable in God’s sight?”  The Bible is very clear about some things, and this is one of them.  If we accept God’s gift of His son and give our selves to Him, we then can be acceptable to Him. 

          Only then.                   

          Forgiveness is offered through God’s Son. When His great grace and mercy are coupled with our faith, the Apostle Paul said that is how we become “accepted” in the beloved.  We can actually become welcome members of God’s family through faith in His Son.            

          In his response to an earlier post on our site, Dr. Lamar Brooks made the suggestion below.  If you’ll refer to the “Tips, Tools, and Techniques” post, you’ll recall this is one of the ways you can gain further insight into Scripture.  That is, compare it with other places where the same words or ideas appear: 

“You have written excellent material. When you go into the word ‘acceptable’ I would suggest that you will find that word well represented in Romans 12:1-2, in the well-known King James Version. It is used there twice, the first time to talk about something that is ‘acceptable’ to God, and the second time something that is ‘acceptable’ to us.”                                                                                                

          We aren’t going to be able to exhaust any of the truths we explore in our studies.  But, hopefully, we’ll be stirred to think.  And in doing so, you’ll find the words of Scripture become a part of your thought processes.  Without even trying to do so, you’ll have this prayer engraved in your consciousness.  And when you don’t know what to say when you pray, this will serve you in good stead.  And if you think right and speak right, I won’t even have a second thought about how you’ll act!                       

          Mull this over at your leisure.  We’ll move along to the last phrase, and then go on to the “conversation” Jesus had with Peter that night so long ago in the “upper room.”                                                                  

 Until next time,

Don Kimrey  P.O.Box 55, Sneads Ferry, N.C. 28460  Phone (910) 328 1763    Email Kimrln@aol.com   

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Help me stay “on track.”

Below is my first post. It seems to have gotten lost to some when it was sent to the “About” place. I repeat it here for those who may drop in later, and also to keep my mind focused on what I’m attempting.

I hope those who come to the blog will ALWAYS READ THE SCRIPTURE REFERENCES. FIRST. And then think about it prayerfully and form your own opinions. I don’t want to do the thinking for anyone, and truth will never become yours until you make it your own.

I’ve decided it might be worthwhile to think just a bit further on Psalm 19:14, especially the last phrase in the prayer. I’d really like for you to explore what it means to be “acceptable” “in Thy sight,” and then consider the three titles the psalmist uses when addressing God. In his response to the first study, Lamar Brooks suggested that we view this idea in light of Romans 12:1 & 2. That’s in keeping with my “Tip” in the earlier post about comparing Scripture with other Scripture. Also, Mary Ellen Bowman made some interesting observations which are worth considering. What I want to do, though, is for you to find out what YOU think.

I also hope you know this is a “work under construction.” I’m thinking and learning while you are. Don’t lose track of the conversation Jesus had with Peter, but let’s look a bit more closely at the ideas mentioned above before we go further.

Your comments and encouragement really mean a lot to me.

don

FIRST POST

Thank you for visiting my site. Hope you’ll hang around a while, get acquainted, and come back soon and often. Your friends are welcome, too.

It seems a word about me might be in order, although it isn’t what I consider important. My background and training are in ministry. I felt called, was trained and inclined to serve. And tried to do that for several years in the Church, serving in about every capacity up to and including Senior Pastor. Hospital Chaplain, Greensboro, N.C.Fire Department Chaplain, and volunteer Chaplain for an Army Reserve Unit.

Because of some personal and painful circumstances, I went through what I call an “eclipse of faith” (That’s Baptist speak for “backslid.”), resigned from the Church I was serving at the time and left the ministry. There was no scandal involved. I simply came to a place where my doubts were greater than my faith. When I reached a point where I felt I could no longer have served as MY pastor, I could not serve in that role for you or anyone else. Put simply, I could not “fake it.” I couldn’t wear a mask, so I resigned from the pastorate.

It doesn’t seem to be important to discuss details of those days past, beyond saying I’m extremely sorry I decided to resign and have made every possible attempt to re-establish a right relationship with God and the Church. I’ve discovered that the most difficult problem most of us have is accepting the fact that we’ve actually been accepted. Really been accepted and forgiven. Even when God is “faithful and just” and forgives us as we “confess our sins,” it’s hard for us to forgive ourselves. I still have to work on that, but I AM working on it.

My desire to know and love God, and serve Him faithfully for the rest of my life is as much a part of me as breathing and having my heart beat. If you’ve ever been in anything close to this kind of situation, you know that a burning, yearning desire to serve won’t go away. I feel a deepening desire to study Scripture carefully and then feel equally driven to share some of the insights gained. The internet seemed to furnish an ideal outlet for me, a “bully pulpit” from which I could communicate some of my discoveries. In turn, it also can provide a forum in which those who choose to read and think with me can share their own insights. I would welcome and respect your thoughtful participation and response.

Beyond that, I have no other identifiable motive or reason for this undertaking. I’m not trying to get anyone to join anything. I’m not running for or from anything. I’m not trying to sell anything, because I really don’t have anything that is for sale. If you appreciate what is said, of course your encouragement in the form with which you feel most comfortable would be welcome. If you choose to reflect on my effort and respond with your own ideas, suggestions, and questions, that would be wonderful. I don’t have an “axe to grind,” and will not deal with denominational or political issues or any matters that are deliberately or unnecessarily controversial or divisive. That is simply not my purpose in this endeavour.

My approach will be: First, opening statements about how I study the Bible. This will deal with “tips, tools, and techniques” . . . methods I’ve found to be helpful in my own personal effort to grow spiritually. Then, I will use those tools to study specific passages in the “Book.” In the beginning, I’ll deal with parts that have been helpful to me, personally, as I attempt to follow Christ and apply ancient truths to present reality. Some of the discoveries have really brought great strength and hope to me, when both have seemed in dismally short supply.

I honestly don’t consider myself a “scholar,” but I do try to be a careful “student.” If you find the approach to be helpful, without any strings attached, I invite you to join this expedition. This is an invitation not just to watch how my mind works, but also a sincere invitation and request that you share your own insights as well.

Wow! That seems to be more than enough for a beginning!! It’s probably obvious to you that this is my first attempt at using a great tool. . . I’ll try to learn quickly and try not to bore you with my rambling or stumbling, bumbling efforts. And I will appreciate your patience and value your response.

To be continued. . .donkimrey

P. S. I’m really not skilled at the computer, although I’m trying. If you want to contact me directly, you may do so at Post Office Box 55, Sneads Ferry, N.C. 28460, Telephone (910) 328 1763

3 Comments

3 responses so far ↓

  • Texann // January 10, 2008 at 8:06 am

    Very well thought out and insightful. I just got bogged-down with so many questions thrown at me all at once. But, then I am used to teaching a younger crowd! Sometimes the simpler it is the more meaningful it becomes. I am saying that you might want to start off with fewer questions. Some people need more explaning. Too many questions in the beginning might lose some people before they really get “hooked”. Build up the momentum, gradually, to keep your audiences attention. Then, end with a really thought-provoking question or more to keep your audience “tuned in.” Just a thought…Good Luck DK!! (That will be two cents, please…) )
  • Linda Knowles // January 14, 2008 at 12:28 am

    Dear Don, As someone I know will often use the phrase “good stuff”, that’s just what I say now “GOOD STUFF”. Will pass this on to my dear husband.
  • Lamar J. Brooks // January 19, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    You have written excellent material. When you go into the word “acceptable” I would suggest that you will find that word well represented in Romans 12:1-2, in the well-known King James Version. It is used there twice, the first time to talk about something that is “acceptable” to God, and the second time something that is “acceptable” to us.

5 SUGGESTED QUESTIONS ON LUKE 22

“And the Lord said:  “Simon,  Simon, behold Satan hath desired thee that he might sift thee as wheat, but I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not . . .” luke 22:31-32a KJV      

What are the circumstances surrounding this statement? 

Who was at the meeting that evening and why were they there? 

What was about to happen within the next few hours? 

What was on Jesus’ mind?  What was on the disciples’ minds? 

Was everyone “on the same page” here?     

Why do you suppose Jesus singled Simon out and spoke directly to him?  Why would he call him by name?  Twice? 

Does He ever have to call you by name to get your attention?     

Why would “Satan desire” Peter?  Or You?  What’s his motive?  Do you think his intentions will ever change?     

Now, here’s a good place for you to use a bit of imagination:  Can you picture in your mind what it would look or feel like to “be sifted as wheat?  Why do you suppose Satan would want to do that?  Have you ever felt like you were being “sifted as wheat?”     

Think for just a moment about the conjunction “but.”  Our study here is not intended to be an English lesson. But why, though, would Jesus not just pause and continue with no interruption in the flow of thought?  In our language “but” is almost like a stop sign.  It isn’t simply a brief pause before continuing “business as usual.”  It suggests a complete change of direction. To the left of the little conjunction is a statement of how things were and suggests the direction in which they will probably continue if allowed to run their course.  The little conjunction interrupts that action abruptly and decisively and to your right there is an entirely new, different action which is set in motion.  Read the statement without the conjunction and see what the effect is.  If Satan is allowed to continue “sifting” Peter, wonder what the final, logical outcome might be     

Think about the statement that follows:  I have prayed for you.”  Think about that a bit!  The Bible elsewhere speaks of Jesus as being our “mediator.”  That means he approaches God on our behalf as our spokesperson!  Think about that! What do you think about that?  Can you imagine having a better person representing you before a holy God than His Son, Jesus?  Can you conceive of the Father ignoring or refusing  any request made by His Son on behalf of Peter?  Or any other sinner?  Or ME?!  

Now, if you can get it into your mind that Jesus also cares for you just as he cared for Peter, what do you think would be the content and result of such a prayer?        

Here’s just one other question:  Why do you think Jesus placed so much importance on your faith not failing?  

4 NEXT ASSIGNMENT luke 22:31-32a.

      Before we get to that, though, I want to go “dig a little deeper” with Psalm 19:14 and pay attention to what it means to be “acceptable” in God’s sight.

     There’s tremendous significance and potential in the way the Psalmist addresses the One to whom he is speaking.  He uses three names, or titles: “Lord,” “Strength,”and “Redeemer.” When you’re in conversation (prayer, in this case), isn’t it sufficient just to call the other party by just one name?  But three!!??  What do you make of that?  Isn’t it helpful to know the identity of the person with whom you’re speaking!     

In a casual or superficial reading, you could run right past that, couldn’t you?     

     Trust me, there’s more, much more, beneath the surface here.  With a bit of thought, and effort, you may get a new, deeper understanding of the personality of the One to whom you are praying. Please, when I place so much emphasis on mere “words,” don’t think of it as “antics with semantics.” 

 Think of it as prospecting.      

     And (same verse, same prayer)  I don’t want to “spook” anyone, but once you know with whom you’re dealing, keep in mind that what you think, and say, and do. . . are always “in His sight.”  That always gives me “cause to pause and ponder.”  And wonder! After you think that thought over a bit, let’s talk further.       

     These are some of those “words” about which we’ve been thinking.  If you have a dictionary handy, it might be helpful to look up each of them and get a simple English definition.  If you have a Bible dictionary, that will give you even more insight. Remember, the ancient Hebrews placed  GREAT value upon names and did not use titles thoughtlessly.  Also, you might enjoy comparing this same prayer (along with the titles) with the way it appears in another translation of the Bible.      

     So you’ll know I’m in this for “the long haul,” I’m working now on a conversation Jesus had with Simon Peter on the “night in which He was betrayed.”  It’s in Luke 22, and I’ll be concentrating on verses 31 and 32a. You’ll certainly benefit from reading Luke’s record of the entire evening, but for my purpose I’ll concentrate on just that sentence. ALWAYS view the truth in context.  See what surrounds the statement, what led up to it being said, etc.  

     As always, it is wise to see the “larger picture” and think about the circumstances under which Jesus said what he did to his good friend, Peter.  Peter seemed to me at times to have his own “agenda.”   I don’t think he had attention deficit disorder, but he did seem to get distracted at times and paid attention to things that were not as important as what Jesus was trying to get across.  (SOUNDS A BIT LIKE ME.  A LOT LIKE ME!).

       I’d like to mention something else which, I hope, you’ll always keep in mind as we study prayerfully and thoughtfully together:  I’m very well aware there’s no way any mere man can know all the needs of all the people with whom he comes into contact.  But I also know that God does possess that knowledge and wants to provide hope and direction to everyone who seeks Him.  So I approach this effort with confidence (not arrogance.).  Just about every day of my life I ask that God will lead me to someone whom I can help, or someone who can help me. . . and then I try to proceed on the assumption that He will do one or the other. . . or both.     

     If these “studies” seem simplistic, that is as it is intended to be.  I’ve discovered some of the “simple” things are profound upon closer examination.  And if I’m successful in my effort and faithful in my intention, the words will deliberately be plain, understandable, encouraging and hopeful.  You can find enough stuff in other places that are “intellectual exercises” or that mess with your head about guilt, and judgment, and condemnation and failure.  If you feel you’ve failed at anything (or everythng) you tried, you probably are too painfully aware of it and don’t need anyone to remind you or punish you. That was not the reason I began this effort, and will never be my reason to continue the blog. 

     In studying Scripture I’m searching first for what will build me up and bring peace, and hope and joy to me.  Then, considering your trust a treasure, I will gladly share with you anything I discover that has value.        

     This before I go:  In “comments” about one of these studies, Mary Ellen Bowman wrote some very thoughtful things.  It not only was an encouragement to me, but some of her observations about our study are better than mine and worth your considering.  Mary Ellen is Director of the Christian Women’s Job Corps in Wilmington.  What she does is find ladies who need help, and then she helps them! She and her staff find fallen and struggling women (who sometimes have children, or are getting out of prison or trying to escape the prison of an abusive relationship) and pray for them.  And while they’re doing that, they help the ladies find jobs, transportation, homes, self-esteem and faith.  Her work there is deserving of your prayers and support.  If she didn’t post her address and you would like to contact her, I can give you that information.   We’re definitely not having the world batter the door down to get to the site, but those of you have spoken or written to me personally or posted something on the blog make me feel perhaps the Lord WAS leading me when I decided to try this approach.  Thank you again for visiting the site, commenting, being patient, and inviting others. I listen to what you say and will pray with you for any concerns you exxpress.  And I certainly appreciate your remembering this effort prayerfully.   

Thanx for visiting.  Later   -dk     

3 My “Take” on the Prayer

Let the Words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy Sight, O Lord, My Strength and my Redeemer…PSALM 19:14 

THIS IS A PRAYER.  I’m certain you noticed that.  Very brief and to the point.  Here are some of my thoughts on the assignment.  I’d rather know what you think.  And I do hope you’ll think.  I tried to break the prayer up in digestible sections and felt I could understand it better if  these questions:

 

 

 

 

1.     What does the word “Let” mean?  

          It can mean “to permit” or “allow.” It can also mean “to cause” something to happen, not just permit it.  I believe GOD is the Source and the Destination of our lives.  I cannot even say the right things consistenly.  In another place in Scripture, another person prayed: “Set Thou a seal upon my lips.”  In our words today, that means simply:  “Help me to know when to just simply shut up.”  It doesn’t mean just to “permit.” The writer isn’t just asking God to be a passive observer.  He’s asking God to be an active participant.  You can tell that by considering the Names, or Titles, he uses for the Person whom He’s addressing:  LORD.  STRENGTH. REDEEMER.

 

            I believe this carries with it a recognition that we are not empowered to think, speak, or correctly consistently. We need God.  Another writer put it this way:  in Him “we live and move and have our being.”  I need His help.  I must have it.  Every Day.  Every hour.  He must “Create within me a RIGHT spirit,” or I’ll continue to be spasmodic and erratic.  In other words, this is a joint venture.  God must do it, and I must allow it. My part is to be open, submissive and  yielded. I cannot resist  His Lordship over our lives and run and rebel and then wonder how my life often  gets into such a tangled, mangled mess.

             When my mind pursued further this idea of our “cooperating with God”, it occurred to me that it might be sort of like my praying that the Lord would LET me BREATHE.  See my point?  He makes the oxygen and lungs available and both enables and allows me to breathe.  But He doesn’t breathe for me. 

2.   Why are “The words of my mouth” important? 

They reveal what I am thinking.  They have power to hurt or to heal…to encourage or discourage.  Think about the power of words.  Think of Winston Churchill and the influence of his speeches.  Through the wisdom, courage and determination and sheer power of his words, he helped Britain survive World War II.  He kept hope alive and challenged the Brits so much that, as he said: “If the empire shall survive a thousand years, men will say: ‘This was their finest hour!”  And we still say that!  All my life I’ve admired that man and been awed at his magnificent handling of words.  Just words.  But they were used like weapons, like clear calls to duty, service, sacrifice and VICTORY.   

       One of my coaches came into our locker once at half time in high school and found a bunch of  whipped little puppies licking  our wounds  and whimpering over a 21- 0 pounding we were taking.  We didn’t even want to go back in the second half and take a worse “whoopin’’  Coach looked at us sort of disgusted, understandably, and took out what he said was a telegram from a “crippled” lady we all knew and he read these words: “…A winner never quits, and quitter never wins” Coach Heckman crumpled the paper put it in his pocket, turned and walked out of the locker.  I never saw the telegram, and really never knew the “crippled” lady.  But I do know those words lit a fire in us and we stormed out of the locker room like young tigers and left the field later with a 24-21 victory.  Just words. 

 

 

 

        But sometimes words can light a fire!  They can brace courage.  “Remember Pearl Harbor.” “ Don’t give up the Ship!” “9/11!”   are just a couple examples of what I mean.  You can certainly think of your own examples.  Words can inspire you to do better things.  Be better than you are.  They can help you keep trying when everyone and your own reason tell you to quit.  Here’s a thought that just occurred to me:  If the words of others can be so helpful or hurtful to me, what do you suppose the chances are that the things I say (and the WAY I say them) might have a good effect on someone else?

 

        The Bible does not make the distinction we make between words and deeds.  A statement is an act.  God spoke by His Son, “The Word became flesh and dwelled among us.Saying something is Doing something.  Be careful what you say.

 

        When I was a little boy, and said something mean or bad, Mom would say: “You hush, or I’ll mash your mouth.”  I can still her say:  “Don’t sass me son.”  More than perhaps anyone I’ve known, she knew and taught me to understand that  words can express disrespect or  reveal character.  Sometimes we have a slip of the tongue…I almost called the Tourette syndrome the Toilette syndrome. Every pshcyiatrist is familiar with what they call a “Freudian Slip,” and they know sometimes words can give a pretty good indication of what’s going on behind your face.

 WORDS CAN HURT.  Did you ever have a parent, or someone you respected greatly, say: “You are so stupid!”  “You’ll  never amount to anything.” Or “Fatso!”  You know how it felt, and when you remember it probably still hurts.

 

WORDS REVEAL YOUR CHARACTER.  That’s what Jesus meant when he said: “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” If you say unkind things, you are an unkind person.  If you continuously spew obscenities, vulgar speech, uncouth, uncultured words, that’s a measure others can use to decide what kind of person you are. With an uncanny degree of accuracy!

WORDS CAN ALSO HURT THE PERSON WHO SPEAKS THEM.   Have you ever said anything you regretted?  And then wished you’d  never said that.   And you can’t “un-say” it!!  Do you know anyone who’s ruined a relationship, or lost a job, or gotten in serious trouble by some careless word? 

 

 

WORDS CAN ALSO END ARGUMENTS.  I once heard someone say the toughest phrases to say in the entire English language are: “I’m sorry.”  and  “I forgive you”  From wide experience, I can vouch for the truth of those statements!

 The “Words of my mouth”  may have an effect on others.  The “meditations of my heart” are going to influence me.        

3.  Why are the “Meditations of my Heart” important?        

      This is the way Jesus answered that question:  “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”  Thoughts, or “meditations” are what happens inside your life.  They are usually a pretty good indication of what you’re going to do. If you tell me what you think about most of the time, I can give you a good idea of the kind of person you are.  And also what you will eventually do, if you ever have opportunity or provocation.  Meditations are simply what you think about, in unguarded moments, when you’re quiet, or alone with yourself.  That’s why the Psalmist asks for both guidance and permission in this area. 

       Your “meditations” are the place where you dwell., not just where you visit once in a while.   Unless you “purpose in your heart” to do something the chances are that you will not follow through on anything significant for any significant period of time.

 

MEDITATIONS HAVE TO DO WITH ATTITUDES. . .   THE REASONS YOU DO THINGS, THE PLANS YOU MAKE, YOUR AMBITIONS.  AND THERE IS ABUNDANT EVIDENCE IN SCRIPTURE TO SHOW GOD ATTACHES AS MUCH IMPORTANCE TO OUR REASON FOR DOING SOMETHING AS HE ATTACHES TO WHAT WE DO. MAYBE MORE.

       In the first chapter of the book of Proverbs, these words appear telling you what a “blessed” man is:  “In His law doth he meditate both day and night” If he thinks right consistently, the writer says such a man will be “like a tree planted by the water.” He’ll be steady, “rooted.” and produce “good fruit.”  He’ll live a clean life and purposeful and produce good results.

      This habit of “meditating” is like exercise to the soul.  If I want to be strong, then as a continuous practice I have to eat, exercise, and rest right as a way of life.  How seriously would you take me if I told you I want to “get in shape” physically?  I’m so determined that I did a pushup yesterday.  Or, try this on for size:  “I’m morbidly obese and am going to get my weight problem solved; I cut down to a gallon of ice cream a day!” Both of us know that’s laughable!   If you’re serious about anything, you will think about it.  And do something about it.  And if you do anything at all worthwhile, it will not be an accident.                       

      When the Bible speaks of the “heart,” no one I know thinks it refers only to the organ beating in our chest.  It refers to the core of our being.  The place where intelligence, the will, and emotions come together.  It is  The Spring from which our lives flow.  So the “meditations” that take place at the center of our selves, our “heart,” will reveal who and what we are, what we’ll probably do, and what and who we’ll become.

 4.  Be acceptable in  Thy Sight

I think I’ll “hang things up here.  If I get tired of writing, I imagine you might get tired of reading.  Hope this hasn’t run you away so far.  If you are interested, let me know, and I’ll continue.    

 

Define “Acceptable”…. What do you think it would take to be “acceptable” in God’s sight?   If you don’t feel you can accomplish that on what’s your alternative.   

FIRST ASSIGNMENT Psalm 19:14

“LET THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH AND THE MEDITATIONS OF MY HEART BE ACCEPTABLE IN THY SIGHT O LORD, MY STRENGTH AND MY REDEEMER”

Psalm 19:14

So, here goes. I’ve laughed at myself, and it’s o.k. if you chuckle, too. It’s been more difficult for me to get to and from the site than it has been to do the studies. My son, Tim, has been very patient, faithful and helpful. He understands now why I chose not to go with the “Scholar” title he proposed originally. He also said he’d “hang with me” in this effort, so I’m already assured of a class of one.

If you just got here, you might want to check the first couple of postings. In those, I gave (1.) some of the reasons why I chose this as a “platform,” and (2.) methods and materials I employ in my own personal study. (3.) How I plan to conduct the study. Please keep in mind that this is not going to be seminary style course in Biblical Criticism. It is intended in its beginning to be a means of sharing some “discoveries” I’m making in my personal devotional consideration of some selected Scripture passages.

In our first study, I’d like to look at Psalm 19:14. I don’t believe in “proof” texts because anyone can find isolated words to make about any point they want to make. However, I do believe in the power of ideas and concepts. If you have any doubt about that, look for example at the concept Martin discovered in the book of Romans: “The just shall live by faith.” It was just an idea, but when it was examined and really understood it was that simple concept that ignited the Protestant Reformation. John Wesley, years later was influenced by Luther’s conversion. As a consequence you will find Methodist Churches sprinkled about the land. Another thought just occurred to me:

I’m just wrapping up reading of the latest biography of Albert Einstein. If you wonder about the power of an idea or concept, think E = MC2. Then consider, if you can, the impact that theory has had and continues to have on the world in which you live. In preparation for the study, I’d like to ask you to read the assignment and THINK ABOUT IT.

Here are a few questions I asked myself as I mulled it over: 1. What does it mean when the writer says: (1.) Let the words of my mouth…Define the word. It’s very short and simple. But what does it imply? Why does the Psalmist ask that the (2.)words of his mouth” be acceptable in God’s sight? Is what we say that important? Why? What does he mean when he asks that the (3.) “…meditations of my heart…” be acceptable in God’s sight? What is so important about what goes on inside your head? Inside your heart? The Psalmist here says nothing about his deeds. . . just what he says, and what he thinks. What do you make of that? (4.) Define “acceptable” in this context. If perfection is God’s standard, (incidentally, the word for “sin” in Scripture is the same word archers used for “missing the mark.”) can we ever become “acceptable” in God’s sight? How? (5.) Consider “In thy Sight”…What effect does it have on you if you know you’re being observed? Let’s think about that and then talk about it when you’ve had sufficient time to form your opinion. (6.) I didn’t even get into the “Strength and Redeemer” words, but that’s worth even more, deeper meditation. Who is it in whose sight we live and move about? Sometimes that thought would scare living daylights out of me. At other times, when I’ve felt no one knew or cared, it has come as a source of challenge and encouragement.

I’m certain that you noticed this verse is a Prayer. An excellent one, in fact! Just one powerful, beautiful, simple and profound sentence. If you can’t think of the “right words” to say when you pray, say this: LET THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH AND THE MEDITATIONS OF MY HEART BE ACCEPTABLE IN THY SIGHT, O LORD, MY STRENGTH AND MY REDEEMER” Psalm 19:14

2. TIPS, TOOLS & TECHNIQUES FOR STUDY

Here are some suggestions (NOT RULES) you may be able to use in your Bible study. This is how I study the Bible. Basically, it’s about the same effective approach someone would use in investigative journalism.

I ask questions, A LOT of questions! ”The six W’s,” i.e. Who? What? When? Where? Why? and (w)how? The w is silent! Just kiddin’! +

When a question is asked, simply answer it. Sometimes a question is asked in such a way it presupposes the only sensible answer. For example:  “If God be for us, who can be against us?” What is the obvious answer?  Say it out loud.  And don’t forget it.   Or this:“Shall not the Judge of the Earth do right?” Yes. Of course He will. Answer the question. +

If you don’t know what a word means, look it up. Use your English dictionary. Use a Bible dictionary. If the meaning isn’t vivid or clear, check for synonyms. And antonyms  (Sometimes you can determine more clearly what something IS by determining what it IS NOT.). +

Try to compare what you are studying (Whether it’s a word or an idea) with what is stated elsewhere in the Bible and what you’ve observed in your own experience. Continue reading