It’s no shame to need a counselor. We read of the kings of Israel who sought advice and wisdom from counselors. I have a counselor I seek out regularly…in fact every morning. “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors” (Psalm 119:24). Each morning I ask the Lord to teach me and guide me by the Holy Spirit as I read and think about God’s Word. Of course, there is an important place for human counselors. However, the counsel from the Bible doesn’t require an appointment or cost you money. The price you pay is time, discipline, and attention. The rewards you will reap are out of this world! We don’t “have to read the Bible”; we get to read the Bible, and make it our primary source of counsel for life. There are many who try to attack the Bible, claiming it is full of discrepancies and errors. When I read articles by skeptics, I wonder how often they actually read and study the Bible. Personally, I discovered wisdom, purpose, and insight into my own nature when I started reading God’s Word. The counsel of the Bible lifts me out of discouragement, shakes me out of lethargy, and fills me with great joy. A sadness comes into my heart when I think of how many people will go through their entire life and never know the life-giving counsel of Scripture. As a pastor, I don’t read the Bible just to get sermon thoughts. I read because I need what God has to say to me. As a sheep first (and under-shepherd second), I need to hear God speaking to me, keeping me on the good path and sparing me from self-destructive behavior. My prayer for every person connected to Highway Tabernacle is for you to delight in the Word and develop a great hunger to think God’s thoughts. If you are new to the Bible, I suggest you open to the Book of John. Before reading chapter one, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand and obey what God says. In areas where you are confused, don’t give up. Believe that as you grow in the Lord, these areas will become clearer. The counsel of the Bible is right in front of you…waiting for you to mine its treasure. Enjoy!
Pastor Mark Boucher
Everybody lives with boundaries. We move and work within buildings with walls. We walk on sidewalks that are separated from the streets. We drive and ride in vehicles which follow many traffic boundaries. Do you ever hear people complaining or rebelling against these “oppressive boundaries”? No, because we all know that boundaries are necessary in life—for our protection and the safety of others. I wouldn’t walk down the street saying, “I’m tired of all these boundaries. I’ll walk wherever I want, whenever I want. After all, I’m a free person.” The truth is I can be free…and be dead! Now, connect this with what Jesus taught us about freedom. He said, “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). He also said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). Why is it that our culture understands the need for physical boundaries, but disparages and ignores spiritual and moral boundaries? For example, God’s Word gives many commands and teachings about sexual self-control and faithfulness. However, the media constantly bombards us with images and messages that make us think sexual boundaries are repressive and restrictive…limits of our freedom. So, in our attempt to become our own little gods, we fashion our own boundaries to match our lifestyle and broken conscience. A man once told me (with self-righteousness), “I am into porn, but not anything with children.” At the time he told me, he was alone and quite miserable…divorced from his wife who couldn’t stand his selfish behavior. Always remember, God’s boundaries are for our benefit. Don’t let the “freedom lie” get you to believe that you can find joy and freedom apart from God. True freedom and safety in this confusing world is only found by living under the control of God’s Spirit and God’s Word. His boundaries are for our blessing!
Pastor Mark Boucher
It’s the longest chapter in the Bible and it’s right in the middle of the Bible…Psalm 119. Just a quick glance shows you the theme of this Psalm: the pre-eminence of God’s Word! From reading and thinking about this Psalm this past week, I renewed my love and devotion to the Word of God. I notice in my heart that when I start drifting from my devotion to Jesus, my desire and practice of reading God’s Word starts to diminish. As a pastor, my passion is to spur you on, as God’s people, to love God and to walk with Jesus. From my observation, those who discipline themselves to get into the Bible daily are those who grow and stay sharp and satisfied in their faith. Sadly, many Christians today respect the Bible but hardly spend any time reading it! The world’s “ignore God” philosophies, entertainment, and morality act like a tsunami, flooding the minds of casual believers. With scattered and cluttered inner thought lives, we hardly consider what God teaches about life and peace. We wonder why we give in so easily to temptation and why we feel dejected and confused so often. The Lord invites us to his “office” for free counseling! Psalm 119:24 says, “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.” God’s counsel supersedes the world’s confusion any day! The key to getting His Word into us is through love and delight. As long as we view the Bible as a “chore”, we treat it as a tasteless vegetable… good for us, but hardly exciting. But, what if we developed the mindset of 119:14, “I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches”?! Not many people would reject great wealth if it were at their fingertips. So, do yourself a favor, don’t just respect the Bible, open it, read it, think about it, develop a simple plan to read it every day, get to church regularly, hear and respond to God’s Word. Let the eternal guide your decisions in the temporal. Your life will change!
Pastor Mark Boucher
This has happened to you. It’s a cloudy day with rain on and off. You’re outside walking along, and suddenly a ray of sunshine breaks through the clouds right over you! I’m reading through the Book of Jeremiah. The clouds are ominous. God has repeatedly warned his people to turn from their evil and stubborn ways. But no one is listening. Dark days are ahead. While Jeremiah is prophesying, he writes his inner thoughts of how hard it is to be a lone voice, crying for repentance in a nation that mocks and scorns him. I wonder as I read Jeremiah, “How did he keep going? What sustained him to remain faithful when all around him God’s people were forsaking him?” In the midst of his difficult calling, Jeremiah is bathed with a ray of sunshine…revealing to us how he was able to keep his courage and sanity in such times. Jeremiah 15:16 says, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty.” Jeremiah anchored his hope on the Lord and his Word! Just as nutritious food strengthens the body, so the Word of God sustained him. He ate God’s Word and chose the Word as his joy and delight in life. Although outward circumstances obscured the light of the sun, his faith penetrated through the blowing and drifting clouds to grip that which does not change. Current events and news continue to breed fear, hatred, and uncertainty. However, the Bible tells us that God is faithful, and we are receiving a Kingdom which cannot be shaken. Love God’s Word. Let this be your joy and delight as you feast every day on what he says! By his strength, we can show others the confidence and hope we have within us, no matter what happens. God provides his Word, the food of life—are you hungry enough to eat?