Friday, May 22, 2009

"Open My Eyes, That I May See Wondrous Things From Your Law"

These last few days have been hard for me. I'm ashamed to admit I've been doubting and backsliding, yet I want to help you by telling you, in case any are in the same position. Thankfully the Lord didn't let me turn away completely (none of His children will), and He brought me back into sweet fellowship and delight in Him, though I'm still not as close to Him as I should be (prayers appreciated). I was in fear of the state of my soul, and yet I didn't feel like reading my Bible much or praying much. One thing that draws me (perhaps everyone) away from delighting in God is too much time spent with entertaining shows, movies, or books. Then the Word of God may seem a bit dull and we may think we've heard it all before, and maybe we have. But it's deeper than any other book, so there are always new things to glean, if we truly seek. Through the encouragement of my mom and some dear siblings, God taught me again that I need Him and His Word, whether I want to read it or not. And along the way, there are blessings to be found and joy restored, if we just ask and remember the amazing love of God. Listening to sermons by John Piper helped, specifically the sermons entitled God Demonstrates His Love Toward Us and God Did Not Spare His Own Son, as did praying and focusing on the Word of God. It's not a one-time thing, but a daily battle. I'm listening to Nothing Can Separate Us from the Love of Christ, today, which is excellent, as well.

Here are some of the verses that I used as prayers and were an encouragement to me:

Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
-Psalm 119:17-18

My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.
I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.
Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.
My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.
I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.
I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame.
I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.
Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.
Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.
Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.
Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.
Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.
Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.
-Psalm 119:25-40

Of course, there are many more such encouraging verses in the Bible, and different ones may be more helpful for you at this time.

Lastly, I want to share a couple of quotes by Spurgeon from The Treasury of David that have been a blessing.

(From Psalm 18) '22. "For all his judgments were before me." The word, the character, and the actions of God should be evermore before our eyes; we should learn, consider, and reverence them. Men forget what they do not wish to remember, but the excellent attributes of the Most High are objects of the believer's affectionate and delighted admiration. We should keep the image of God so constantly before us that we become in our measure conformed unto it. This inner love to the right must be the main spring of Christian integrity in our public walk. The fountain must be filled with love to holiness, and then the streams which issue from it will be pure and gracious. "I did not put away his statutes from me." To put away the Scriptures from the mind's study is the certain way to prevent their influencing the outward conversation. Backsliders begin with dusty Bibles, and go on to filthy garments.'

'28. "For thou wilt light my candle." Even the children of the day sometimes need candle-light. In the darkest hour light will find the holy fire with which the candle shall burn; our evidences are our own, but their comfortable light is from above. Candles which are lit by God the devil cannot blow out. All candles are not shining, and so there are some graces which yield no present comfort; but it is well to have candles which may by and by be lit, and it is well to possess graces which may yet afford us cheering evidences. The metaphor of the whole verse is founded upon the dolorous nature of darkness and the delightfulness of light; "truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun;" and even so the presence of the Lord removes all the gloom of sorrow, and enables the believer to rejoice with exceeding great joy. The lighting of the lamp is a cheerful moment in the winter's evening, but the lifting up of the light of God's countenance is happier far. It is said that the poor in Egypt will stint themselves of bread to buy oil for the lamp, so that they may not sit in darkness; we could well afford to part with all earthly comforts if the light of God's love could but constantly gladden our souls.'

Praise the Lord for such love and mercy shown in various ways, and may the love of God be with you all!

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