Friday, February 16, 2007

Psalm 119:11

"Thy word have I laid up in my heart, That I might not sin against thee." (ASV)

I know so many people who love the Lord, who pray regularly, and yet who never even open their Bible. Truth be told, it wasn't so long ago that I was one of them. I was missing out on all my God had to offer me.

I spend most of my reading time on fiction. I like a good story that grabs you and carries you away so that you look up from the book four hours later and wonder where the time went. I like to be entertained by my reading. The Bible used to lay on the shelf collecting dust between church services because it just wasn't gripping enough.

When I buy a new gadget or gizmo, only very rarely do I crack open the instruction manual first. Usually I play around with it for a while (sometimes weeks or months) until I find something I just can't figure out. Then it's time to go hunt down the instructions and force myself to read them. Usually I find out that I haven't been using the item to its full potential -- I've been missing out on some really great features and I've been doing things the hard way.

The Bible is God's instruction manual for life. It's no thrilling page-turner, but it contains a lot of vital information about how to live. Without it we miss out on a lot of the good things that God has for us and we tend to try to do things the hard way. Unless you are hearing God's voice directly, like the prophets of old, the Bible is the best way to get to know God. This is His Word to His people.

Lots of folks come up with the excuse "yeah, but it was written down by men, and men are fallible." If you honestly believe that God is not powerful enough to maintain control over His Word, that He is incapable of ensuring that it is correct, then you're clearly not aware of the awesome power of God. Then comes the excuse, "but it's been translated so many times that it's lost a lot of it's meaning." There are few of us here today who are capable of reading the Bible in it's original languages. Fortunately, God was there at the time of the translation too.

Most importantly, God is here now. He helps us to get from scripture what He has for us to know. An important part of Bible reading is prayer and meditation. Does this mean you have to scrunch your legs up underneath you and mutter "Ohmmmmm" over and over? Don't be silly! It's just a term used here to describe being quiet and still and allowing the Holy Spirit to communicate to you. If you've never meditated on the word of God, you'd be amazed at how the scriptures can really come to life for us.

So my suggestion to all Christians who have never really spent much time reading their Bible is this: Go, find a quiet spot, and just spend some time getting to know God's word. You don't have to start at the beginning, in fact I don't recommend that you do. Start wherever you're comfortable. For most people that's the New Testament. Read a short section, and then just spend some quiet time in prayer, asking God to reveal to you His wisdom. He's more than willing to enlighten us to a lot of things if we just take the time.

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