Tuesday, November 12, 2019


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The Rev Andries Combrink is a Presbyterian Minister of the Gospel. He lives in Centurion, South Africa. 
To teach the Word of God is his calling,  based on the Reformed tradition. 

 

Devotions and more

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It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ Mt 4:4.

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Sep 3

Written by: Andries
Tuesday, September 03, 2019 2:24:14 AM  RssIcon

We are busy with this two-part devotion, learning about the personal application of what we read in the Bible. We already concluded in part 1,that:
1. The Bible was written to others — but speaks to you too.
2. And, the Bible is about God — but draws you in. We have to look for what the passage, chapter or Bible book says about God and recognise why it is straightforward to you that this passage has relevance for you personally, today.
 
When you recognise a passage still unknown to you as truth that applies to you personally, it will generalise or summarise God’s truth and narrative in a way that it clearly invites personal application and relevance.
Think, for example, about the promises of God to all believers, especially those that we know as the Gospel promises – about salvation, redemption, forgiveness, reconciliation with God in Jesus and our eternal future with Christ.
 
Also recognise the joys and sorrows, moral principles and commandments in the Bible that present themselves as of everlasting and universal importance. Apply these universal, eternal promises of God for all believers, to yourself. Or test your own life situations against the universal expectations of God for all believers.
 
Pay attention to how various Bible passages continuously and specifically reapply the same promises and standards over and over and how it relates to the whole Bible and its universal assurances and decrees.
Then, look for the place in such a passage where these words come to you as a Christian, as a follower of Jesus, and are therefore applied differently by you, than by a non-Christian, or someone of the Jewish and Muslim religions.
In simple terms, how do I apply this for and in my relationship with my Redeemer, Jesus Christ, the Lord.
 
In matters of obedience, the Bible often proclaims a general truth without mentioning any of the multitudes of possible practical applications.
For example, when Jesus says, “You cannot serve God and money” – Luke 16:13, you are left to decide for yourself what “love for money” means in your life and in your culture.
There are multitudes of similar generalised expectations of God addressed in Scripture which we will read within the context of our own time and life, in order to daily apply it personally, as God’s Word for us.
 
These generalised cases, where the Bible speaks in large categories, addressing many different experiences, circumstances, and actions by only stating the principle, the universal truth must be applied to me – to my challenge, my concern, my sin and my salvation!  Understanding what it specifically means in your life, asks for self examination, prayer pondering and guidance of the Holy Spirit as to what you should take from those words in order to rewrite your life’s narrative in obedience to God’s Word.
 
But now, how do we work out the implications for ourselves, when I read a less direct passage?
 
Let’s consider two examples to help us understand that every passage holds a message for us.
The first, an extreme challenge to personal application of the Bible, is a genealogy (names of people for generations). These are, on the face of it, irrelevant to your personal life. Your name is not on that the list of people. The reasons for the list often disappeared long ago.
You gain nothing by knowing that “Koz fathered Anub, Zobebah, and the clans of Aharhel”! (1 Chron. 4: 8).
But when you learn to listen with an open heart and mind you may find good and encouraging things taught, also here, for example:
• The Lord writes down personal names in his book of life – even mine.
• Families and communities matter to him.
• God remains faithful to his promises through the long history of mankind.
• He enlists individuals, like you and me, for his saving grace.
These genealogies form part of the history and background of Jesus. If you are in Jesus Christ, his family becomes your family and God’s promises to them become very personal promises to you!
 
The second example is Psalm 21: 1. “O Lord, in your strength the king rejoices”? The psalm is not talking about you. You are not a king in the way that David was. But it does connect with you.
 
David lived and wrote these words, but Jesus Christ most fully lived, is now living, and now fulfils this entire psalm. He is the greatest King, singing this song of deliverance; and he is also the almighty divine Lord. We know from the perspective of the New Testament that this psalm should be explicitly applied to Jesus. And you, who are in Christ, share in the triumph of your glorious, living King.
Having made the psalm your own, in Christ, you may now make it your personal experience too. You could adapt it into the first person, inserting “I/me/my” in place of “the king” and “he/him/his.”
 
Learning to wisely apply the harder, less obvious passages has a surprising benefit. Your whole Bible now “applies personally.” This Lord spoken about in the Bible, is your God – get to know him better from his dealings with believers that lived ages ago; that piece of history in the Bible, is also your history; these people became your people; this Saviour has made you one of his own, to participate in who he is and be blessed by what he does. Venture out into the remotest regions of Scripture, seeking to know, love and trust God more.
 
The Bible, as Holy Scripture, is the only certain, unqualified source of God’s Word.
Paul’s statement that “all Scripture is breathed out by God”, (2 Tim3:16) means that all the words of the Bible are God’s words to us. Therefore if we want to hear our Creator and Lord speaking to us, we must continually give attention to all the passages of the Bible, asking what it says to you personally, today.
 
Jesus Christ, after defeating Satan during his 40 days in the desert, with three quotations from Deuteronomy, declared, “a person shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”! (Matt 4: 4.)
 
The Holy Scriptures were spiritual food to Jesus that made him strong and faithful in his calling.
Jesus’ dependence on the sufficiency and potency of God’s Word during a variety of circumstances, shows us that every word God shares with us, has meaning, application, comfort and direction for our lives.
What applies to Jesus, implies meaning to me, who has been saved by and in Jesus Christ, my Saviour, Redeemer and Lord.
  

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