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Don’t Forget to Bring the Rain

Written By: Daniel Gregory - Apr• 02•12

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J. M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, once said “God gave us memories that we might have roses in December.” When I look back on so many of my memories from childhood I must say that there is an abundance of roses I can enjoy any time of the year. One memory in particular that brings a smile to my face is actually a memory of many occurrences that I experienced back in elementary school. I remember going to church with my mom and sitting in the balcony with her and my sister. While there, it occurred to me that every Sunday I would hear it rain. This was perplexing to me because it happened at about the same time during the service each week and after the service when we walked to the car, there was no evidence of any precipitation on the ground or the car. I remember being in service listening to the rain and looking at the stained glass windows which were brightly shining as the unhindered sun illuminated them. As you can imagine this taxed my little brain as this was a conundrum that I could not figure out.

     The answer finally came out when I noticed just what was occurring when I heard the rain. You see, when I heard the rain, I automatically looked up to the ceiling or to the widows trying to see the clouds or hear the droplets better. Instead I should have looked down and I would have seen all the people in pews below me and around me taking their Bibles and turning to the passage that the preacher had just announced. The little crinkling of pages multiplied by a few hundred caused a sound to come resonating throughout the sanctuary just like rain hitting the roof. This was most audible when the preacher had everyone turn to a particular passage during the sermon to make a specific point and on cue the pages began to be flipped.

     Now I must admit I felt both proud and a little silly upon this realization. However, I did find myself in amazement over the sheer number of Bibles that were being opened and flipped through as the church prepared to listen to the sermon. I cannot remember hearing that sound for a long time. There are a couple of reasons for this. One of the reasons is because the acoustics of the church I grew up in were such that it helped amplify the sound. Another is that Bibles today are not always made with that special crinkly paper, some have coated paper to avoid tearing, others are made with a more book-like paper that is heavier and doesn’t crinkle like the Bible I received for my 16th birthday from my mom. Sadly though, one other reason is that there are many that simply don’t carry their Bibles to church any more.

     One of the struggles that we face today is that it is so easy to leave our Bibles on our bookshelves never bring them with us when we gather together to worship the Lord. Our Sunday school quarterly has the Scriptures printed neatly inside of them and everyone is able to follow along as a class. During the worship service at Mars Hill as well as countless other churches the Scripture for the day is printed neatly in both the back of the bulletin and projected on the Powerpoint screen. Now all these things are great and help us out tremendously in studying the Word but we miss the opportunity to hone our skills in studying the Bible and practicing the art of opening our Bible and follow along with the lessons we are taught. We also miss the opportunity to receive a huge blessings by having our Bible in our hands. In my life I’ve gone through a couple of Bibles and I can honestly say that each has a special place in my heart for what God taught me through it. Many of the blessings I have received are in part because I had my Bible with me in church, that I could see and underline passages that were being taught and expounded upon.

     There is a something special about having a personal copy of God’s Word in your hand and taking that Bible and opening it and following along as the preacher or Sunday school teacher delivers the lesson for the day. For some reason the message has a way of permeating our hearts deeper and sticking with us longer. Perhaps it is the dual system of learning through both listening and looking, maybe it is because it requires more effort on our part to look and listen and we work harder at learning when we have our Bibles open and follow along, it might even be that God is honoring and blessing the effort we make in seeking Him through His Word, but whatever it is that blessing we receive in deeply getting to know the message from the pulpit or Sunday school lesson is priceless and can be life changing.

     My encouragement for you as you read this is simple, each Sunday morning don’t forget your Bible. If you are one that feels lost without your Bible in your hands, good for you. I don’t think God intended His Word to be an optional accessory in our wardrobe of life. Continue taking it and using it in Sunday school, the morning worship, and throughout the week. If you are one that is devout in bringing your Sunday school quarterly and reading from it regularly let me challenge you to add your Bible into your routine, open it up and begin using it both in the Sunday school hour and the worship service and see if there is not a great blessing to be found in searching the Scriptures. I recently had the privilege of conducting a funeral for a dear lady and I was able to read from her Bible in the eulogy. Contained within it was a plethora of underline verses, notes, and markings that showed how much she studied her copy of God’s Word. I’m sure that there were days she could go back and thumb through those passages that she marked and remember the spiritual gems that she found before. Parents encourage your children to bring their Bibles. Teach them to cherish it regardless of whether their copy of the Scriptures is found on a iPad or Kindle fire or an ebook reader. Teach them to cherish their copy of the Word of God and it will be a life long companion to them that will influence and direct their lives. Sunday school teachers encourage people to have their Bibles. It is a priceless treasure that God has given to us.

     In thinking about that phenomenon and how things have changed over the years the one thing that has remained a constant is the need we all have to bring our Bibles to church and use our Bibles throughout all our life. God intended His Word to be so many things to the believer. is so revealing of this truth, in this Psalm it is revealed that God’s word is to be a lamp (vs. 105), a source of delight (vs. 92), a way to keep our lives pure (vs. 9), as well as so many other things.

     You know when we think about it, others need to see us take our Bibles to church as well. Fathers and mothers, your kids need to see that you value God’s Word that they might learn to value it as well. For the lost world seeking meaning and purpose what a testimony for them to see the value we place on the Holy Word that has the greatest news of all, that of Jesus Christ.

     So this Sunday as you grab your car keys and herd the family into the car for church don’t forget to bring the rain. It will not only bring showers of blessing on you and also on others as well.

119:1  Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.

17 Deal bountifully with your servant,
that I may live and keep your word.
18 Open my eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of your law.
19 I am a sojourner on the earth;
hide not your commandments from me!
20 My soul is consumed with longing
for your rules at all times.
21 You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones,
who wander from your commandments.
22 Take away from me scorn and contempt,
for I have kept your testimonies.
23 Even though princes sit plotting against me,
your servant will meditate on your statutes.
24 Your testimonies are my delight;
they are my counselors.

25 My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word!
26 When I told of my ways, you answered me;
teach me your statutes!
27 Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
28 My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word!
29 Put false ways far from me
and graciously teach me your law!
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your rules before me.
31 I cling to your testimonies, O Lord;
let me not be put to shame!
32 I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart!

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
38 Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.
39 Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good.
40 Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!

41 Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise;
42 then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your rules.
44 I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever,
45 and I shall walk in a wide place,
for I have sought your precepts.
46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
and shall not be put to shame,
47 for I find my delight in your commandments,
which I love.
48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.

49 Remember your word to your servant,
in which you have made me hope.
50 This is my comfort in my affliction,
that your promise gives me life.
51 The insolent utterly deride me,
but I do not turn away from your law.
52 When I think of your rules from of old,
I take comfort, O Lord.
53 Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
who forsake your law.
54 Your statutes have been my songs
in the house of my sojourning.
55 I remember your name in the night, O Lord,
and keep your law.
56 This blessing has fallen to me,
that I have kept your precepts.

57 The Lord is my portion;
I promise to keep your words.
58 I entreat your favor with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 When I think on my ways,
I turn my feet to your testimonies;
60 I hasten and do not delay
to keep your commandments.
61 Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
I do not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to praise you,
because of your righteous rules.
63 I am a companion of all who fear you,
of those who keep your precepts.
64 The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
teach me your statutes!

65 You have dealt well with your servant,
O Lord, according to your word.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
for I believe in your commandments.
67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I keep your word.
68 You are good and do good;
teach me your statutes.
69 The insolent smear me with lies,
but with my whole heart I keep your precepts;
70 their heart is unfeeling like fat,
but I delight in your law.
71 It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statutes.
72 The law of your mouth is better to me
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

73 Your hands have made and fashioned me;
give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
74 Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
because I have hoped in your word.
75 I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
76 Let your steadfast love comfort me
according to your promise to your servant.
77 Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.
78 Let the insolent be put to shame,
because they have wronged me with falsehood;
as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me,
that they may know your testimonies.
80 May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
that I may not be put to shame!

81 My soul longs for your salvation;
I hope in your word.
82 My eyes long for your promise;
I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
83 For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
84 How long must your servant endure?
When will you judge those who persecute me?
85 The insolent have dug pitfalls for me;
they do not live according to your law.
86 All your commandments are sure;
they persecute me with falsehood; help me!
87 They have almost made an end of me on earth,
but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88 In your steadfast love give me life,
that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.

89 Forever, O Lord, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
91 By your appointment they stand this day,
for all things are your servants.
92 If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.
94 I am yours; save me,
for I have sought your precepts.
95 The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
but I consider your testimonies.
96 I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but your commandment is exceedingly broad.

97 Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,
for I keep your precepts.
101 I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
102 I do not turn aside from your rules,
for you have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to keep your righteous rules.
107 I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O Lord, according to your word!
108 Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord,
and teach me your rules.
109 I hold my life in my hand continually,
but I do not forget your law.
110 The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but I do not stray from your precepts.
111 Your testimonies are my heritage forever,
for they are the joy of my heart.
112 I incline my heart to perform your statutes
forever, to the end.

113 I hate the double-minded,
but I love your law.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in your word.
115 Depart from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commandments of my God.
116 Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
and let me not be put to shame in my hope!
117 Hold me up, that I may be safe
and have regard for your statutes continually!
118 You spurn all who go astray from your statutes,
for their cunning is in vain.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross,
therefore I love your testimonies.
120 My flesh trembles for fear of you,
and I am afraid of your judgments.

121 I have done what is just and right;
do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Give your servant a pledge of good;
let not the insolent oppress me.
123 My eyes long for your salvation
and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.
124 Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love,
and teach me your statutes.
125 I am your servant; give me understanding,
that I may know your testimonies!
126 It is time for the Lord to act,
for your law has been broken.
127 Therefore I love your commandments
above gold, above fine gold.
128 Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right;
I hate every false way.

129 Your testimonies are wonderful;
therefore my soul keeps them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and pant,
because I long for your commandments.
132 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as is your way with those who love your name.
133 Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
134 Redeem me from man’s oppression,
that I may keep your precepts.
135 Make your face shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
136 My eyes shed streams of tears,
because people do not keep your law.

137 Righteous are you, O Lord,
and right are your rules.
138 You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness
and in all faithfulness.
139 My zeal consumes me,
because my foes forget your words.
140 Your promise is well tried,
and your servant loves it.
141 I am small and despised,
yet I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is righteous forever,
and your law is true.
143 Trouble and anguish have found me out,
but your commandments are my delight.
144 Your testimonies are righteous forever;
give me understanding that I may live.

145 With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!
I will keep your statutes.
146 I call to you; save me,
that I may observe your testimonies.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I hope in your words.
148 My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.
149 Hear my voice according to your steadfast love;
O Lord, according to your justice give me life.
150 They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose;
they are far from your law.
151 But you are near, O Lord,
and all your commandments are true.
152 Long have I known from your testimonies
that you have founded them forever.

153 Look on my affliction and deliver me,
for I do not forget your law.
154 Plead my cause and redeem me;
give me life according to your promise!
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
for they do not seek your statutes.
156 Great is your mercy, O Lord;
give me life according to your rules.
157 Many are my persecutors and my adversaries,
but I do not swerve from your testimonies.
158 I look at the faithless with disgust,
because they do not keep your commands.
159 Consider how I love your precepts!
Give me life according to your steadfast love.
160 The sum of your word is truth,
and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.

161 Princes persecute me without cause,
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
162 I rejoice at your word
like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and abhor falsehood,
but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you
for your righteous rules.
165 Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.
166 I hope for your salvation, O Lord,
and I do your commandments.
167 My soul keeps your testimonies;
I love them exceedingly.
168 I keep your precepts and testimonies,
for all my ways are before you.

169 Let my cry come before you, O Lord;
give me understanding according to your word!
170 Let my plea come before you;
deliver me according to your word.
171 My lips will pour forth praise,
for you teach me your statutes.
172 My tongue will sing of your word,
for all your commandments are right.
173 Let your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, O Lord,
and your law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live and praise you,
and let your rules help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.

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