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.