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Tuesday, January 10, 2017
"May The Word Of God Dwell Richly"
Note: Last Sunday we concluded our church service with "May The Mind Of Christ My Savior" a hymn that is essentially a 6 part prayer petition. As I listened to the six stanzas I considered the prayer set to music would be a good foundation for a week of daily encouragement messages. We'll use a verse from the hymn each day, although we'll double up one stanza since there are six altogether. A video link to the song is posted below. The song was written by Kate B. Wilkinson, who sojourned on this earth from 1859-1928. The accompaniment is St. Leonard's tune. Today we will consider the Word of God dwelling richly within our hearts and a body of believers.
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"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God" (Colossians 3:16).
May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.
We have lived in our present home now for nearly 15 years, the longest either of us has lived in the same home. We dwell here and this is our abode. This home is where we dwell physically.
But what dwells spiritually within us? We all have something dwelling within us and that is what we feed on. It guides our thoughts, principles, motives, instincts, dreams and ambitions.
Our volitional decision and call from the Scripture is to "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within me."
"LET THE WORD BE AT HOME IN YOUR HEART"
Bruce Hurt, compiler of the excellent online commentary Precept Austin exhorts, "Don't read this passage too fast. Paul exhorts us to let. Will you invite His Word into your heart and mind? He won't force His Word upon you beloved. You have to make the volitional choice to allow it entree and might I suggest not just a crack in the door and not with the chain on the door so it cannot open too wide. No, beloved, open widely the door to your heart and mind, and ask God's Spirit to flood your soul so that your very being is saturated with His Word of Truth. You won't regret such a simple prayer, I can assure you."
Interestingly the quality of how the Word should dwell within us is specified in our text from Colossians 3:16; richly. The Wuest translations states, "in abundance" This is a high aspiration both individually and within our churches. Although we might normally consider this dwelling richly in regard to the individual let us consider how it applies corporately.
Bob Southard is a longtime friend who presently lives in North Carolina. He shares a story about what happens when God's Word dwells richly within a body of believers:
"It was over 35 years ago that we lived in Connecticut, and we went to a small church. Within a year of our arrival, the church was bursting at the seams. We had to build, but that takes time! So we rented Danbury’s Elementary School for over a year. During that period the attendance spurted seven times over – YES – from 300 to more than 2000!
During our time holding services at the elementary school, there was an open door the size of a loading dock directly behind the auditorium stage. We hired a policeman every Sunday to “stand guard” to make sure nobody came to church by the 'wrong door!'
The interesting thing was that the back curtain to the stage stopped about 6” from the floor, so we could see the officer’s feet. For some months he walked back and forth to stay busy. We grew to ignore this. But one Sunday one of our girls whispered, 'Hey Dad, the policeman is standing up by the curtain.' He apparently had heard enough to get curious and moved as close as he could without intruding.
Then came the day at the call for commitment to Christ when his feet ran to the end of the curtain. The curtain flew back, and down the few steps of the stage came our friendly 'guard'– straight to the altar, kneeling with tears in his eyes!
Our Pastor, totally surprised but knowing what to do, went down beside him. They prayed the Sinner’s Prayer together and hugged in a holy embrace! A new child of God had entered the Kingdom of Heaven! The congregation cheered, laughed and cried as they made their way to greet him! He still continued as our 'guard,' but everybody knew he was there as one of us throughout the service."
Bob points out that the Word of God entered his ears and his spirit over probably six to seven months as it was a church dedicated to the faithful exposition of Scripture. As Paul wrote to the Romans, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). The Word of God was richly dwelling in those growing in the faith and that rich dwelling impacted an earnest seeker.
Grant Richison writes that… "The word 'dwell' means to keep house. We should live in the Word of God like we live in our homes. We are familiar with our home where all the closets are, where we have items stored. We must thoroughly acquaint ourselves with the Word. The Word should become so familiar to us that we know it like the back of our hand. The idea is to let the Word of God dwell inside and live at home in our lives. The Word of God needs to inhabit us. This is more than just reading the Bible. God wants us to let the Word of Christ dwell in our hearts."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, may the Word of Christ dwell richly within me, since it is the very essence of Your Spirit. The majority of people will never read through the Bible or know of the wonderful truths contained therein. But they get a glimpse of the essence of Your Word through my joyful attitude, the kind words I speak and generous deeds I carry out in the name of Christ, by the love I show to others and by the biblical principles in which I live. As the Word of God dwells richly in my heart hour by hour others will see I triumph only through Your power. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"May The Mind of Christ My Savior" Video Jake Amerding (Vocal and acoustic)
"May The Mind of Christ My Savior" Video Congregational singing
Precept Austin online commentary.
The powerful testimony of Dr. Bruce Hurt
Note regarding yesterday's opening illustration from Ed Carocci, a pastor friend: "When a teenager, I used to make fun when the Pastor of the church talked about Antichrist controlling the world, making fun and saying, how can one man control the whole world, that's silly. Now I look at technology, "Google Home" "Alexia" and the like, asking myself, hum-mm, when will home Bible Studies, Church services, etc, be monitored...? scary."
Another reader, Duke, calls attention to the dangers of the worldly use of "mindfulness" and how it can impact the church. According to researcher and author Ray Yungen: "In recent years, a type of meditation known as mindfulness has made a surprising showing. Based on current trends, it has the potential to eclipse even Yoga in popularity. You will now find it everywhere that people are seeking therapeutic approaches to ailments or disorders. True to its Buddhist roots, mindfulness involves focusing on the breath to stop the normal flow of thought. In effect, it acts the same way as a mantra; and as with Yoga, it is presented as something to cure society’s ills.
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