Don’t forget to pray and ready your Bible today. There are great Bible apps that allow you to take the Bible everywhere you go. Just a friendly reminder to read God’s love letter to you today and talk to Him. ❤
I have a strong bent to vent about ills of this world and people’s bad behavior. I also have a strong bent to write encouragement and good truths I find and believe in. But everything I write is my opinion. And were I to interview people, it would be their opinion. And were I to search news archives, it would be older opinions of other people in the past. And this seems silly but here it is. No person is God. I am not God. You are not God. Certainly the news media or any politicians are not God. Yet people tend to believe what they read (and/or see on tv or computers) as if the writer were infallible or God. Only God is God and only God then is infallible truth. Everything should therefore be checked against what He wrote in His Word, the Bible for accuracy and truth. With all the lies swarming around us on every level, we are responsible to check what we see or read with the Bible for accuracy and truth. God gave us that precious tool for such a purpose and to know how much He loves us. He really does! Never believe anything unless it checks out with the Bible, no matter who says it. We must pay careful attention.
Many of my blogs are about purification and focus on the Lord, both personally and church-wide. People read my blogs and hear me speak and nod emphatically and agree wholeheartedly and go home encouraged and then do nothing. It stops there. People want to be encouraged but don’t really want to act on their convictions because either they don’t think they can make a difference or are frustrated that no one seems to care or are lazy and want to feel good but not do anything. Herein lies the frustration of those of us who want restoration of our country back to God. It will not happen with happy thoughts. The Puritans didn’t invent and make our country happen because they felt good inside or had wonderful personal relationships with God internally that they kept to themselves. No, they got together regularly to pray, the most powerful thing that we can do! When is the last time a group of people in your church got together to just pray? Even if they said so, I bet they prayed alongside entertainment and a person’s message and many song with flashing lights. No, I mean just pray together earnestly for our country and the lost and our government. Well, no one would come. Maybe, but even if two are there, you have audience with the Lord Almighty and can start a change. And maybe in churches if we just sang a few simple hymns, read the Bible and prayed every single week and that was it, I bet you a lot of dollars this country would start changing. And I bet the church would also change for the better and draw people in. Many pastors and leaders of churches all over America read this blog. I dare you to apply it. I double dog dare you. So what if some people who don’t do anything leave. God will provide when you do things His way. And He will bless everything done His way for Him. I dare you to commit three months to a few simple hymns (no lights camera action), read the Bible and pray together as a congregation. You are the leaders of the church and you are responsible to God for it. Dare to be His and not be conformed to the world. Dare to get back to God’s original design. Dare to start a revival in this way. You will not regret it ever.
My favorite part of any story is what people left out or didn’t say. What intrigues me most is an author skilled enough to not say the tactical points which allows your mind to work at filling in the blanks, sets your imagination into action and draws you into the book. In life, we get snippets of a conversation, pieces of the puzzle and we often need to discover what is hidden between the lines. To do this, a wise person will, I believe, not just charge in with preconceived assumptions but seek counsel and guidance from the One who knows every answer. Sometimes we allow ourselves to be offended by things in between the lines we have filled in ourselves with our imaginations. Often, reality ends up being quite different and we were upset over a phantom we created. We cast the light ourselves onto a self-contrived shadow puppet and are angered by the reflection. Seems ridiculous but happens all the time. We need God’s wisdom and conversations with Him before we rush to judgments at what isn’t there. With God’s help, we can integrate the fruits of the Spirit into our psyche and then seek clarification from God and the source,if possible. The other facet is a deep appreciation of my closest friends who can read between the lines in my life and help take me to the heart of the matter. I believe God puts some friends together to encourage one another, a perfect fit to Reade each other between the lines. 🙂
1. Cover to cover. It always made me question when people pick up any book and start flipping through and read this one part or this part. That doesn’t make any sense. No one can understand any book that way. The Bible is no different. It is the truth but when not read straight through can seem contradictory rather than complimentary (stole that concept from my husband). Any book read in bits and pieces is confusing at best and nonsensical at worst. When read straight through, you understand the importance of the stories, the history of the world, the prophecies and their meanings, the Lord’s will, God’s character and power and love, etc. When one verse is taken out of context, you can get it to say anything you want, within reason. My grandpa says it this way. If you take a verse here and a verse there, you could end up with something like this, “Judas hanged himself.” “Go thou and do likewise.” It is a funny way to think of it but it is true.
2. Faithfully. If you are consistent and make reading a vital priority part of your day, it is easy to create a good habit. One decision a day at a time and you are in the good habit of reading daily and are blessed by it.
3. Version Friendly. I personally hate paraphrase Bibles but some people love them. I think the best idea is to invest in a version that is a direct translation in modern English (or whatever language you read best). I love the New Century Version, personally, and it is free on BibleGateway.com (along with many versions). I have my Bible on my tablet, Kindle, phone, printed by my bed, etc. Accessibility is key because there are always times you need truth in your day or are just waiting around.
4. Prayerfully. When I read, I pray in my heart that the Lord show me what I need to learn or that He will show me what He wants me to know. The Holy Spirit living in us guides us and interprets what we read and teaches us what we need at that moment. It is extremely cool and exciting how this works. Sometimes I will reread the same verse several times and even out loud before I get it. I ask God why He said it that way and what the importance was of that detail, etc. Sometimes I will read it again the next day and ask God a different question, like what can I learn about His nature from that verse or chapter(s).
5. Contemplatively. I will often stop reading something for a minute and just think about it. Reading to read out of duty is very different than reading to learn or grow. Being teachable is the key. Learning requires a measure of humility and open mindedness. When you come to the truth with your own bent or bias or rigid ideas, you learn little and get agitated. When you enter the truth, to accept it into your mind, you must come as a child with wonder and humility and be teachable. Otherwise, there are a million other ways you can confirm your own ideas as truth. The Bible is truth and we must come to it prepared to accept it as such even if it is different than what we have been taught or constructed as our truth. This is the hardest part for many of us who have this pesky pride thing hitting us upside the head all the time. However, enormous dividends and blessings await those who pursue truth and accept and incorporate it into their consciousness.
The living, breathing Word of God, the Bible, is the most precious treasure we possess. It is mostly underutilized and underappreciated in our current culture but in so e cultures, they risk death and persecution just to read it secretly. It is life to our Spirits because it shares God’s will and plan with us and instructs us how we should live and work and play and worship. Just to have an opportunity to read it with my family and church and privately is an honor and privilege and I am so grateful for that right! I used to read my Bible in verses or chunks, and I have since found that I understand much more contextually by reading it straight through from cover to cover. It clears up any questions in my mind as I read and my questions become less important than the knowledge in the Good Book that quenches the pride that would ask questions of the Creator and Lover of my Soul. I find that the more I read it, the less important I and my problems become and the greater I understand Him to be. The more I read, the smaller I become and the bigger God is and that is the right perspective. Pride keeps us from reading sometimes, I think, but humble seeking opens the doors to reading and understanding the big picture as well as all the details of what we’re here to do and who we are and Whose we are. It is beautiful and phenomenal to see how God takes care of the huge things as well as the tiny details as people needed either or both. He meets us where we are and you can see His heart in the world and workings of His people. As followers of Christ, it is our reward, honor and blessing to be able to read our Bible as often as we can because it restores our souls and aids in the fight for it that wages on more severely every day. It is our armor against evil and shelters and comforts through any storm. God’s Word lights our way and buffers our human perspective. What an amazing treasure is our Bible!
Trust is something very fragile indeed. The only Person you can truly trust is God and pretty much everyone else in the world, including one’s self will let you down in time, despite our best efforts. But what do you do when they let you down? That answer depends on where your trust is mounted. Now, I am not being pessimistic about relationships and am not saying that they are bad or that people are bad so don’t get close to them. I am saying that we must always be aware of where our hope and trust truly lie, where our first love and priority are. If we have all our trust eggs in a person, get ready to scramble them. If they are in the hands of the One who created eggs and chickens, they are in good hands. So, when a close person in our life does eventually let you down and betray your trust, you will be devastated if you freely gave that person all your trust. No one is perfect. However, if your trust is first and foremost resting in the capable hands of the Perfect One, no amount of human betrayal will shake your trust and hope. It would be just another unpleasant thing that happens to you on our training ground that leads us sooner or later to Heaven and those capable hands we trusted in. It is about peace which comes from knowing God as Truth and Love and spending time in His Word and talking to and listening to Him. So, if you have allowed too much of His rightful place of trustworthiness to be given to another person and suddenly that person let you down, you will find yourself in the position to realize your error and correct it. No other person (but God) is perfect, not even you. And if God allowed you a reminder that you were trusting a person more than Him, He will remind you and give you the opportunity to correct your trust back into Him primarily and predominantly. Then, any time someone acts trustworthy, it is a blessing which can be enjoyed and not an obligation which has to be monitored. And praise God He reminds us that people are weak because it reinforces His strength to us and let’s us know that He demands and desires our full attention. It is a blessing when we are corrected, and a long lasting one because sometimes it can save our souls. The Lord disciplines those He loves. How wonderful when He shows us that He hasn’t given up on us! That makes me happy and renews my peace and trust in God! So, what do you do when someone close to you breaks your trust? You spend time with the Lord again, the only One who cannot break anyone’s trust because He is perfect and Truth and Love. When we place ourselves in His care by talking to Him and reading His Word and thinking about Him and partaking of His creation, we put our hands into the Hands of the Great Healer and Truth Sayer. He can heal your heart and carry you to safety with Him.