November 4

Psalms 139:16b-18 (NIV) 16bAll the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.

In this psalm, we discover the fact that God knows us from the womb. He designed our bodies and planed our lives. Every detail of each day of our life is planned before we are born. That plan is filled with precious thoughts. In this translation we have the words "to me", but an equally valid translation is "toward me". "How precious toward me are your thoughts, O God!" The thoughts that God thinks about you are precious. He plans the way for you to best be able to come to know His mercy and love. Though we have free choices to make, God can see them from His perspective of eternity. He works within the choices we will make to bring us to Himself.

How much does God think about you? If you could add up those thoughts, they would outnumber the grains of sand. That reveals to us the immense love that He has for each of us individually. Since we know He has numbered every hair on our head, knows every move we make, the thoughts we think, and the choices we will make, He can plan the details of our lives for our good, to reveal Himself to us. Do you consider the thoughts He has toward you precious? You must first realize that He has your eternal good in mind, not your temporary happiness. Once you grasp that, things begin to fit together. We will never understand it all in this life, but we can trust that He has been lovingly bringing us down the road that is best for us. It does require us to respond to that guiding hand of love. If we refuse to acknowledge it, we will be held accountable.

Remember: "When I awake" from each night, and from this life, I will still be with Him. I can sleep in peace because I know my tomorrow is planned by Him. I can be free from the fear of death because I know that I will awake from this time upon earth and still be with Him.

November 4

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The Jewish religion divides up what we refer to as the Old Testament into levels of inspiration. The books of Moses are the most revered. They are said to come from the mouth of God. Paul knew this as well as anyone. He is flying in the face of their tradition when he declares that it is all God-breathed. Peter declared that Paul's letters are a part of Scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16). Certainly the Gospels are also God-breathed. Our entire Bible is the breath of the Spirit through godly men. We have the words of communication that God chose to speak to mankind. All of it is useful! We sometimes ignore some of the more mysterious or historical references, but it is all useful. Paul tells us that it is to be used for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

We have so many other teaching materials. We need to use the Word of God to teach. Most churches readily accept teaching, but are offended if anyone is rebuked or corrected. "How dare you think you are so spiritual that you can say what applies to me!" Very few elders will love enough to rebuke and correct. It is love because it risks rejection and ridicule for the spiritual growth and equipping of the flock. Most modern church attendees will leave and go to another fellowship rather than to face the correction of elders. The response is often to find fault in the elders rather than to receive correction. When the Word rebukes and corrects, there is always the hope of restoration, but if it is personal or political motive, it is always out of desire to dominate.

All the uses of the Word lead to one purpose, equipping the man of God for every good work. Whatever our calling, we need to be equipped for it by the Word of God. The God-breathed Scriptures will show us how, correct our errors, rebuke our failings, and correct and train us in righteousness.

Consider: We go to the Word for comfort and encouragement, even training, but let it also rebuke and correct us. Let it equip us for every good work.