An Eye-Opening Prayer

By Julian Wells

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” (Psalm 119:18 NIV)

As I encountered this verse in my Bible reading this morning, it echoed back to me a three-fold plea I often pray as I open the pages of God’s Word: “Lord, open my eyes that I might see wonderful things in your Word; awaken my ears to hear like one being taught (Isaiah 50:4); and open my mind to understand the Scriptures I’m about to read (Luke 24:45).”

Uttering that prayer reminds me that Bible study without the involvement of the Holy Spirit is just reading. But when the Holy Spirit intercedes, Bible study becomes an engagement and a dialogue with the Author himself.

When that happens, real transformation begins to take place.

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV)

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Unfolding The Word

By Julian Wells

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. … I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.” (Psalm 119:130, 147 NIV)

When it comes to expressing the importance of God’s Word and the role it plays in a successful Christian walk that is pleasing to God, there is no equal to Psalm 119. At 176 verses, it is the longest chapter in the entire Bible and fittingly so. The message it conveys is that important and the psalmist’s poetic words are that beautiful.

Don’t be intimidated or discouraged from reading Psalm 119 because of its length. Take the time to let the psalmist’s love for the Scriptures seep into your soul. And start every day allowing God’s light to penetrate your heart as you open the pages of his Word.

“With what joy an invalid on a winter’s day yields himself to bask in the bright sunshine! And how little do God’s children understand that they only have to wait in quiet before God till His light shines upon them and into them and through them. How little we understand that we need enough time with God for His light to shine into the depths of our hearts and fill our lives.” – Andrew Murray

A Taste of God’s Glory

By Julian Wells

“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?” (Psalm 113:3-6 NIV)

When my wife and I decided to purchase our home here in the mountains of North Carolina, perhaps the greatest selling point for me was this western view of the mountains.

At the time, I don’t recall anticipating the splendor that view would reveal at sunset each night and the countless moments of wonder and worship those sunsets would inspire. Sometimes they take my breath away. Every evening they draw me nearer to my Creator and give me a taste of his glory.

“Nature never taught me that there exists a God of glory and of infinite majesty. I had to learn that in other ways. But nature gave the word glory a meaning for me. I still do not know where else I could have found one.” – C.S. Lewis

Crucified With Christ

By Julian Wells

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NIV).

This is a beautiful verse and one many Christians can recite by heart without really giving much thought to its implications. But If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us are living life on our own terms, in our own strength, guided by our own wisdom and asking God to bless us in those efforts.

Christ wants to do immeasurably more than that, more than we can ask or even imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) But it requires dying to self, crucifying our flesh with all its passions and desires (Gal. 5:24), and completely surrendering our lives to Christ, giving the Holy Spirit free reign over our hearts.

That is the kind of faith Paul had, and in his day, it turned the world upside down. (Acts 17:6) I believe it can do so again.

 “I have now concentrated all my prayers into one, and that one prayer is this, that I may die to self, and live wholly to him.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

Living Faith

By Julian Wells

“I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing- if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? … Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, ‘the righteous will live by faith.'” (Galatians 3:2-5, 11 NIV)

While we may not wrestle with reverting to the law as was the issue Paul was addressing with his letter to the Galatians, we do still struggle with the mindset of the law. We are too content to live the Christian life with the limited resources of our flesh, seldom accessing or experiencing the limitless power of God that is at our disposal.

Paul is speaking here of a living, active faith- a faith that undergirds, guides, and empowers everything we say and do. A faith that sets us apart in the eyes of those we encounter. A faith that moves mountains, results in the abundant life Jesus desires for us, and brings glory to God. A faith that energizes the Spirit within us and unlocks the power of God to do all that we can ask or even imagine.

Lord, help me to experience that kind of faith by looking more to you and less to my own human efforts which must be so puny in your sight.

“Faith is a divine work in us. It changes us and makes us to be born anew of God. It kills the old Adam and makes us altogether different people, in heart and spirit and mind and powers, and it brings with it the Holy Spirit.” – Martin Luther