Book Study: God Up Close – Chapter 1

“Oh, how I love Your law!  It is my meditation all the day.”  Psalm 119:97

A few months ago a dear friend of mine said while meeting with her Pastor’s wife, the wife asked who in my friend’s life she looked up to spiritually.  I was blown away when my friend said I was the first one she thought of!  Me??  I have so much to learn and so many ways to grow spiritually.  I remember thinking ‘I need to earn that title.’  So, when I was recently invited to take part in a book study with another friend of mine I immediately jumped at the chance as doing bible studies with this sister in Christ is very encouraging, convicting and refreshing.  She loves the Lord with all her heart and even more, loves to share the Gospel.  She is passionate about her family and ministering to other moms.  She truly is a light in such a dark world.

She came across a book titled God Up Close: How to Meditate on His word by Doug McIntosh.  The book is no longer in print (because, I believe, that it does not tickle the itching ears of the average church in America today) but I was able to buy a used copy on Amazon.  There are about 11 ladies in the group ranging in age from 38 to 86 with many different life experiences and biblical knowledge to share.  Course… being the introvert… I don’t share much!  I’d rather listen!  I’m determined to share next week though!

I’ve read the first 3 chapters twice already and have really been convicted on what are my priorities.  The author, Mr. McIntosh, makes several good points of what we value and love we make time for yet many many Christians do no read their bible and pray every day… many barely once a week.  This book addresses the phenomenon that being a Christian just means being a good person or believing in God.  That’s it… that’s all you have to do…. hmmm.  If you actually read the bible that’s not the truth.

I love this quote in chapter 1: “Meditation is the adoring believer’s interaction with the God of the Bible by means of the Bible.”  I want to be the adoring believer!  Here are the 3 steps Mr. McIntosh uses to meditate on God’s word:

  1. Realizing the truth of God as it is contained in the Scriptures.  This realization comes from reading and study.
  2. Reflecting upon that truth, considering its implications for me personally and for the world.
  3. Responding to God in thanksgiving, worship, and obedience because of that truth.

The author makes a point; if your first question when deciding if you should meditate on God’s word is ‘how long will this take’ then you can’t afford it.  Truly, if I could spend at least an hour every day pouring over my bible and journaling I would!  I love being in God’s word and I love my children being in God’s word.  I can’t expect them to do it if I do not make it a priority.  He also points out that many obstacles present themselves when someone makes a decision to meditate on God’s word.  Satan is not happy about a Christian actually reading her bible and makes every attempt to sabotage her efforts.  Facebook, movies, TV (which is 98% crap anyway), video games all take time away from God; not to mention the effect on our families.

Ok, I’m getting on a rant… I’ll get off my soapbox for now.

Some of the last words of Moses were “Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall commend your children to be careful to observe – all the words of this law.  For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life.” Deuteronomy 32:46-47

Meditation calls for honesty and reflection.  Express your concerns and stresses of this life to God, always with reverence and He will listen.  He’s knows your heart anyway but wants to walk with you through this life.  Reflect on how God has shown His kindness to you or to others.

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2

Another favorite quote from chapter 1 – “Meditation is not a casual activity.  Only those who esteem (delight in) the Word will spend the time and energy required to mine it’s treasures.”

I’ll end with this praise from David from 2 Samuel 22:1-4

Then David spoke to the Lord the words of this song, on the day when the Lord had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.  And he said: The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;  The God of my strength, in whom I will trust;  My shield and the horn of my salvation,  My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence.  I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised:  So shall I be saved from my enemies.




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