Brace Yourself

It happens each year. As some of you know, I read through the Bible each year, interacting with Him prayerfully along the way (most of the time!). I do a psalm each day until I’ve gone through all 150. After a couple months in, I’ll see it looming: Psalm 119. If you’re not familiar with it, Psalm 119 is the longest “chapter” in the Bible – 176 verses. Usually a psalm will take me 1 minute to get through, maybe 5 for a long one, but Psalm 119 … settle in.

Settling in really is the key. If you’re in a hurry, it’s tortuous, but if you can give it some time, it’s incredibly rich. I made the right choice yesterday – and I was rewarded. Two verses were subjected to my pink highlighter yesterday.

I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart! – Psalm 119.32 (ESV)

We don’t have the capacity to live the life God wants us to live until He changes our hearts. When we learn to love Him with all that we are and others as ourselves (Matthew 22.37-39), running in the way of His commandments will be second nature. But this isn’t something that just happens. We don’t get zapped with this ability to love God and neighbor with a new power.

It starts when God gives us a new heart (2 Corinthians 5.17), but we also commit ourselves to a course of growing in this new life. Much of this journey is learning to deny ourselves (Matthew 16.24) and place ourselves before God to let Him shape us. There are many exercises we can commit to, but the most basic are prayer and engaging the Scriptures. Let’s look at Psalm 119 again

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. – Psalm 119.11 (ESV)

So how do we store up God’s Word in our hearts? Neither you or I have the time for that on a Saturday, but how about I give a few ideas to get us thinking in that direction, at least.

Obviously, we can have a personal devotional time in the Scriptures. I read awhile back that a daily, reflective time in the Bible is the single greatest indicator of someone growing spiritually. I want to encourage you to get in the Word each day. If you’re not sure how to do that, let’s talk. It would be my pleasure to walk you through a simple method of daily Bible study. Also, if you go through our next Rooted group in the fall, it will help you build some basic Bible reading skills. Incidentally, I was also listening to a podcast yesterday and they highlighted a daily audio devotional. They cover a chapter per day and they’re 5-10 minutes long. I shouldn’t recommend it until I’ve listened to it, but the founder sounded like a really solid guy. Check it out and let me know if it’s any good.

The next thing we can do to store the Bible up in our hearts is to memorize it. If you’re like me, you’re not disciplined enough to do this consistently on your own. That’s why it’s important to be in a Life Group. Most are taking a break for the summer, but resolve to get in one in the fall. Our fall campaign as well as Rooted each have a weekly Bible verse for memorization.

Finally, we proclaim God’s Word each Sunday morning. I can’t wait for tomorrow. We’re covering one of the most liberating and empowering passages in the Bible – Romans 8.31-39. If we can get the truths of this passage from our heads to our hearts, there will be no stopping us.

If you’re willing to take up this challenge to get in the Word, brace yourself. God’s going to do some amazing work in and through you.

See you in the morning,

Pastor Justin



  • Annual Celebration is next Sunday! After our services next week we’ll be meeting with all the other campuses to celebrate what God has done over the last year with a wonderful carnival at Grace Christian School (4545 Myra Ave, Cypress, CA 90630).
  • Father’s Day is June 21. Come for breakfast at 9:00. We’ll also have a car show. If you have an antique, or even interesting car, let us know and we’ll keep a place for you.
  • We’d like to have a baptism soon. If you want to take this step of faith, please fill out a Connection Card indicating so on Sunday morning or email me.

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