When I read my Bible, my journal is not far away. I like to read passages of scripture and then meditate on the words I’ve read, and see what the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart. Often what comes out on paper is an “Ali Paraphrase”. It’s just something that happens when my heart is stirred by Truth, and I encounter God’s spirit dancing on the inside. Let’s just say it’s “when Truth gets personal.” I have my own lingo and way of saying things, and it’s rarely in thee’s and thou’s. It helps me bring the Bible into my heart-language and encourages me personally. I call this “personally edifying your own spirit”. It kicks discouragement in the butt and does wonders to set your day in the right direction.
Bill Johnson, the lead pastor from Bethel Church in Redding, California, says that he will read a Psalm of David every day until he hears “his own voice” speaking back to him, which means that his heart has so connected to something that David wrote, that it is as if he (Bill) wrote it himself and it is an exact expression of his own heart.
We all need to find our own voice within the pages of the Bible. It’s the only way that it gets from our head to our heart, and becomes an experiential reality, and not just another’s words on a page.
Last night I listened to Jude Fourquier preaching at the Jesus Culture Encounter 2013 conference. After his sermon, he spoke backstage on the live webstream with some men about how he meditates on the scriptures. He referred to the Latin phrase “Lectio Divina” which means “divine reading”. He said, simply, that “you read until the Divine Happiness comes upon you.”
I love that. Read until the Divine Happiness comes upon you. YES!
In my words, I’d say that you read until “your spirit is dancing on the inside.” I’d say that a dancing spirit is the expression of the Divine Happiness, wouldn’t you say?! :)
So, while I’m sharing on the topic of meditating on the scriptures, I thought I would share the following passage below, and then right after it, I’ll share the “Ali Paraphrase” that I scribbled in my journal which was a mix of my voice and the voice of the Holy Spirit communing with my heart, hence, creating an EXPERIENCE of the Divine Happiness!
Romans 8:28-39 (ESV) 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ali’s Paraphrase of Romans 8:28-39
God gave His Son for me. For ME! Yes, that’s right and that is true. For ME!
He already had a rescue plan for me before time began. He’s determined to love me. So why even try to resist it?
He will karate chop all who try and accuse or condemn me. He is FOR me. He thinks I’m the bomb-diggity. And that’s the truth.
He is determined that NOTHING and NO ONE will keep us separated. He wants to be tight with me. So why fight it?
He is making a way to pour out His overwhelming love continually into my heart, day after day after day after day…
He will take everything that happens in my life and MAKE IT WORK for MY GOOD. Nothing, no evil, no disappointment, no heartache, and no painful circumstance will work for bad. It will ALL be worked into the very best gift for me.
God is chasing me down to give me good gifts, again and again and again. He’s excessive. He’s too much. And He can’t help Himself. It’s His biggest dream to give me way too many good things.
So, there’s no way around it. God’s after me …and He can’t get enough of me.
Now it’s your turn! Go off with your Bible, grab a journal and pen, put on some worship music (if you so desire), and “read until the Divine Happiness comes upon you!” You’ll be so glad you did!