October 29

Psalms 119:9-11 (NIV) 9How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. 10I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in our Bible. It is believed to have been written by Ezra during the restoration period, when the Jews returned to Israel from Babylon. The entire psalm is about the Word of God. Each section is entitled with a Hebrew letter, and each verse in that section begins with that letter. Every verse mentions the Word of God in some form.

Ezra asks how is it possible for a young man to keep his way pure? They are experiencing physical changes and have little experience to know how to deal with it. The world today is of no help. It encourages them to sin against God and not consider it wrong to do so. What would your advice be to a young man who wanted to serve God in all his ways? The Holy Spirit says that the one way is by living according to God's word. There must be time spent in God's Word and the contemplation of what it is saying. That must be accompanied by desire to keep what one hears from the Word. But that alone is not enough. The next verse shows us that even though we seek God with all our heart, we need to ask God to keep us obedient to what we have heard. "God, don't let me stray from your commands. I understand what You are saying, but I need Your help. I recognize that without Your help I would not be able to do it."

But the author didn't just leave it at that. He memorized what God was saying to Him. He kept the words like a hidden treasure locked in his heart, brought out to enjoy, examining often. Each day you can take a treasure from your morning time with God and place it within your heart to help guide you through the day. Take it out often. Show it to friends. Let it be the thought that is the backdrop of your whole day. Sin will keep you from the Word, or the Word will keep you from sin.

Challenge: Young person, or old person with a young heart, take time to gather treasure to take with you through each day. Make some of them a part of your permanent collection by committing them to memory.

October 29

1 Timothy 6:11-12 (NIV) 11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Paul had just warned Timothy about the destructiveness of the desire for riches. Then he told Timothy what he should be pursuing. First, he referred to him as a man of God. Do you think of yourself as a man or woman of God? How would it feel if someone referred to you in that manner? It should cause us to pause and consider our high and holy calling. Pursuing money is an unworthy goal for a man or woman of God. He may bless you with wealth, but there are more important things to pursue. Men and women of God are to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Those attributes are worth pursuing. They are worthy goals for God's children.

What does a life pursuit of those attributes look like? Would you say those are the things you are pursuing? How important is gentleness to you? Endurance? Godliness? Do you work at attaining the manifestation of these attributes like a money hungry person pursues financial success? Does it occupy your thoughts and creep into your conversation, like get rich ideas always pop up in the greedy person's speech?

We are in the fight of the ages over who will receive our worship. Fight the good fight of faith. Keep your eyes fixed on what is really worth living and dying for, the Lord Jesus Christ. Take hold of eternal life. Don't just hope your sinner's prayer will get you a free pass to heaven; grab hold of life right now! If it isn't worth living for now, why would you want to spend eternity living in it?

When we first came to faith, we made some kind of public confession, whether it was baptism or a testimony. Are we still living like we have committed our lives to God's hands as we declared we did?

Remember: Take hold of life today like you did the day you were saved.