A wide-margin Bible is such a great tool for encouragement. For as long as I can remember, I have had various wide-margin Bibles to use for study. As I read and meditate, I record spontaneous prayers and thoughts and the date in the margin of my Bible (I plan to pass these Bibles onto my children when I leave this world behind). At some later date, that prayer or thought might actually encourage me, like this morning's note on Psalm 85:8. On October 5, 2005, I wrote:
This verse (Psalm 85:8) is so appropriate! God has been convicting me of a certain bad habit I have - a sin - I should say. As I launched into it again yesterday, the Lord gently reminded me that I should turn from it but I kept right on going. Then within minutes, He made it clear to me that my sin was like the letting out of water. It spreads quickly and always seeks the lowest path of least resistance and it cannot be gathered back in once it has gone out. So from now on, I commit to "hear what the Lord will say, for He will speak peace" to me and I will not turn back to folly. Help me, Lord.As I read that entry, I had no idea what that "bad habit" had been. I did not name it in my note (thankfully). But this I know, the Lord did speak peace to me concerning my sin. He did help me. Whatever it was, it is no more. He turned me from it.
However, since I continue to struggle with sin it is crucial that I listen to the Lord and keep my eyes on Him. He alone is my help in this conflict. Only Jesus can turn me from my folly to obedience and empower me to live a life that brings Him glory. Oh, how thankful I am that I am not left alone to do this work that is humanly impossible. But I can do it through Christ who strengthens me! I just need to keep looking at and listening to Him. Let us fix our eyes and ears upon Jesus!
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2