Day 10

Your Decrees Are Wondrous

from the Psalm 119 reading plan

Psalm 119:121-144, Romans 15:4, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

BY Bailey Gillespie

Reading the Bible has always been hard for me. That may sound strange coming from someone who works for a company with the motto, “Women in the Word of God every day.” Over the years, being in the Word has proved tricky for several reasons, one of which is its familiarity. I’ve read Scripture my whole life, yet the transformative stories and commands lose their potency when I grow used to their rhythms and cadence, to the way the words sound when they roll off my tongue.

Let me be clear: Scripture can’t lose its power or potency. But I can diminish its work in my life through my own apathy. I can choose not to slow down and really open myself to the text or the Holy Spirit who speaks through it.

A decade ago, I walked through a situation that required me to love a friend and leader in our church community with what the Bible calls agape love—a love that seeks someone else’s wellbeing. Since I could no longer speak with this person directly, the development of this love had to take place solely between God and me. So, my best friend and I made a pact to read 1 Corinthians 13 every day for a whole year. The love passage. This well-known chapter was the best model we could find for the altruistic, Christlike, agape kind of love.

Just because it was a well-known chapter didn’t mean it was easy to put into action. By focusing our attention on one passage for an extended period of time, the purpose was long-term, personal transformation. I began reading it to myself out loud, as if to absorb into my very being. I can still hear the lines echoing through my car, as I read it aloud each morning:

“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy,
is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude,
is not self-seeking, is not irritable,
and does not keep a record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:4–5).

These aren’t just eloquent lines of verse or truisms to tuck away in our back pocket. They’re the living, active words of God. My friend and I didn’t set out to memorize the chapter, but within a couple weeks it was buried inside us. I found that my heart had been softened toward God’s Word and toward this person from our community. And even though it may not have redeemed the situation, it changed my heart.

As Psalm 119 says, “Your decrees are wondrous; therefore I obey them” (v.129). Let’s obey God’s decrees by burying them inside us, even if that means reciting them aloud for 365 days. When our hearts have a chance to catch up with our minds, we begin to embody truth and become not a clanging cymbal but a transformed child of God (1Corinthians 13:1).

Post Comments (61)

61 thoughts on "Your Decrees Are Wondrous"

  1. Tina says:

    Oh Cara, how my heart hurts with yours. I am so sorry for your loss, praying Gods peace over you and yours as the year since approaches. Praying Our loving compassionate Father God wrap His loving arms around you and yours and that you feel His tangible presence around you.
    God be with you Cara. Sending love wrapped in prayers..

  2. Meri says:

    I can’t read 1 Corinthians 13. I am not there yet. My mother in law and I had a major blow out. She has depression, I have ADHD and anxiety. We are a fun combination. My spirit is broken so is my husband’s. My heart aches feeling that nothing will ever change. Maybe later but not today for the love chapter.

    1. Tara Beatty says:

      Praying for you Meri!

    2. AnneLyn P says:

      Praying for you and your husband and mother-in-law, Meri.

  3. Claire B says:

    I can never express how closely I can relate to this devotion. I will try to use 1 Corinthians 13 to try and not only forgive but to forget. I also understand at age 64 that familiarity of scripture makes it difficult to “see” new eyes.

    1. Julie Hurst says:

      Amen. But this day’s devotional is encouragement to go word by word until the familiar becomes strange and wonderful again.

  4. Churchmouse says:

    Oh Cara I’m so so sorry. What a tragedy! My prayers are with you and your family, that you would have the peace that passes all understanding, for surely the unimaginable has happened to you. Tears fall. Father God, put out your love on these your children. Comfort them. Remind them that heaven is real and their daughter is with You and that will be with her again. Oh how I praise You for the salvation You provide.

  5. Cara P says:

    I know God is good and we know exactly where our daughter is today. She had a really strong faith and for that we are thankful.

    1. Angela Sutherland says:

      Oh, Cara! I am so deeply sorry for such a terrible loss! Please know you are being lifted up in prayer as you face the mark of a year gone. I’m thankful to see you finding refuge in His Word!

      1. Cara P says:

        Thank you Angela. As hard as it is, it’s also so wonderful to know that other women of faith who I’ve never even met are praying for me.

    2. Claire B says:

      God Bless you

      1. Cara P says:

        Thank you Claire!

    3. Carolee M says:

      Oh Cara, I am so sorry for your loss. I will keep you in prayers as you approach his day. May our wonderful and gracious God provide comfort to you as He holds your daughter in his ever-perfect and loving arms.

    4. AnneLyn P says:

      Praying for you, Cara P.

      1. Cara P says:

        Thank you AnneLyn!

  6. Cara P says:

    Vs 136 really jumped off the page to me. It reads: My eyes pour out streams of tears because people do not follow your instructions. We are coming up later this month on the one year anniversary of my 28-year old daughters murder. She stuck up for a girl who got into an argument with her boyfriend and then the boyfriend followed by daughter upstairs to the same floor the girlfriend lived on and after my daughter went into her apartment, the boyfriend shot through the door and hit her right on the forehead and killed her instantly.

  7. Margaret Lindsey says:

    All of you Sisters are so insightful. I am grateful for all of you showing how the words of Scripture bring personal meaning to you. It helps me see how to make it personal for myself.

  8. Margaret Lindsey says:

    All of you Sisters are so insightful. I am grateful for all of you bringing the words of Scripture into personal meaning

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