Thursday, December 31, 2015

Why that Title?

The title of this blog, At His Right Hand, comes from a verse in the Bible. The verse comes from the great book of Psalms; it is Psalm 16:11. In the NASB translation that verse says, "You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Hmmm, it says in your right hand there are pleasures forever. Personally, that verse and the language it uses is amazing. The Hebrew word for pleasure that is used in Psalm 16:11 is the word na'iym. This word can stand for several things; it can be physical, outward beauty, sweet sounds, or delight, in and of itself. Altogether, though, this accounts for the only pleasures that we will ever need in this life. God, Himself, is the only thing that we ever need to be happy on this earth. There is so much that we see in this world to try and fulfill our desires for pleasure, though. These temporal items extend anywhere from large 70'' flat-screen televisions, to sporty cars, to iPhones, to apple watches. Whatever it may be, we lust and crave for it, thinking that it and it alone will satisfy all our cravings, longings and desires. Don't get me wrong; these things can be enjoyed as good and gracious gifts from a loving God, but we tend to place them above God as the sole thing that can bring us pleasure. When we get them, they always turn out to be below our pleasure-seeking expectations, and they do not satisfy our cravings for pleasure. Often, when we learn that a certain item has failed to satisfy our demands for pleasure, we go to the next big thing that promises to fulfill all our desires. Maybe, we try upgrading from an iPhone 6 to an iPhone 6 plus because we think that a bigger screen will fulfill all of our demands for pleasure. In the end, though, we will end just as we have begun. We still crave, hunger, and thirst for more than anything temporal in this world can bring us; we long for God. If you are reading this and find that it does not apply to you because you are a Christian already, don't think that you can get off the hook so easily. Even as Christians, we have a tendency to try and fulfill our pleasure-seeking demands with something other than God. As Christians, we should be more on guard against these idols of pleasure because they break our communion with God, and we have been given the ability to truly delight and find pleasure in God, having been saved. If this is our tendency and our problem, what is our solution for combating the problem. Well, if God is pleasure and the Bible is about God, then the best place to get pleasure from God is to be in his word.  I can't tell you how much I have begun to realize this this fall. Every summer since it has started, I have been doing something called Bible Bee. It is a program dedicated to getting the next generation of Christian young people involved in digging deep into and memorizing the word of God. It starts with a summer bible study and a few passages to memorize; this past year it was on the first six chapter of the book of John. Going into it, I saw that it was going to be a lot more work than previous years due to some changes they had made. Rather than motivating me to do it even more, this fact made me kind of sluggish in the study. I slumped off on it and wound up cramming a bunch in the final weeks. At the end of each summer of study, there is a test to determine who will go on to Nationals. This past year was the first year that they decided to do it on computers at home. Taking the test I was not as prepared as I should have been and ended up placing below the requirements necessary for Nationals. I was close but not close enough. Being pretty confident that I had made it, I was disappointed to learn I had fallen short. About a month later on a Friday morning, I chanced to get a call. It was the Bible Bee informing me that I had qualified to go to Nationals if I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. Thinking over the proposition, I had mixed feelings. Nationals would mean tons of study--a Bible study of John 7-12 that I would have to do on my own and the memorization of 880 Bible verses. Then again, I thought; this opportunity would allow me to dig deep into God's word, hide it in my heart, and grow closer to Him. Being a lover of traveling, I also realized that agreeing to go would mean the excuse to go on a vacation in the middle of the school year to San Antonio, Texas. After some thought and prayer, I made the agreement to do it. This was one decision I will never regret and always cherish. For roughly 2 1/2 months I tried to juggle Nationals study, tons of school, a part-time job, and activities with friends. It was a hard task. At times, I felt frustrated because I was not doing enough Nationals study or trying my hardest. But, through it all, I was growing closer to the One who had saved me. November 15, 2015, two days before my day I would leave for the big contest, I was burned, trying to cram as many more verses as I could down my brain and trying to learn John as well as I could. To my great disdain, I lost focus of why I had begun this journey in the first place. It had been started so that I could grow closer to Him and delight more in Him, not so that I could get all 880 verses! Ready or not, my dad and I set out on our long day of traveling from Arizona to Texas. We flew to Dallas and then drove four and a half hours to San Antonio. Overall, at the contest, I didn't do that well. The written test that I took; I did not score very high on. On the accompanying oral round, I had three passages to recite. I didn't know one of them, butchered the other, and  nailed just one of them. I did not move on to the semifinal round. But...was that my goal in the first place. No! It wasn't! For all that I care, I did it so that I could know my God more. If this was my true goal, then I succeeded amazingly. One of the speakers at Nationals had a great impact upon me. He said that he had committed to memorizing the entire New Testament. THE ENTIRE NEW TESTAMENT! Well, good for him, right? No, as I heard him speak, I wanted to do the very same thing that he had set out to do. Will it take a while? Yes! But, my hope and joy is in the fact that while I am doing it, I will be able to grow closer to God, learn more about Him, and delight in this great pleasure of mine.  So, this is the purpose of my blog. I want to blog about a journey I have embarked upon, a commitment I have made, I promise I have kept to myself about a trail toward trying to know the Word of the Lord more and truly delight in the pleasures that he can give--Himself. I invite you to join in my travel. It is guaranteed to take awhile, but you won't be the same person when you come back!

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