Sunday, August 28, 2011

WHY DON'T PEOPLE STUDY THE BIBLE?

It occurred to me during a recent conversation with a friend, that people don't study their bibles much these days.  We have bible studies, go to church services and listen intently to sermons and take notes, but we don't seem to open our bibles during the other six days of the week.  I think people are scared at what they will find in it.  Will they find that they are living their lives in a manner unbecoming to God?  Will they realize that the only relationship that is truly important in their lives is lacking due to their own neglect?  I also think people don't know how to study the bible.  They think it's a read/answer questions type of book and they don't have the answers!  There is a difference between reading the bible and studying the bible.  I have read the bible through at least 3 times, some books as many as 7 times, but I don't get much out of it until I ponder the words and stories illuminated in the bible.  I search other verses that back up what I'm reading and I have a bible dictionary to understand obscure words and a concordance in order to find related verses easily.  I also have a commentary on the entire bible so if I really get stuck I can see what another person's thoughts are and go from there.  I learn the vocabulary in the bible and am still learning to understand the culture behind the stories to better understand what life was like during the time Jesus walked the earth. 

It's impossible to know God apart from knowing his word.  And knowing the bible is relevant to our lives today.  It's not just a history book, but a "how to" or "self-help" resource.  The bible does relate to our day to day lives.  God's advice is as good today as it was when it was first delivered.  Also, some people think there must be a technique to studying the bible.  Do #1 assignment, then #2, etc.  While I agree that some people do not have adequate study skills, anyone reading this can read, so therefore, they can study.  Somewhere on this blog is a list of study techniques for bible study, but ultimately, we have to choose our own manner and take a small passage at a time.  Other's think that they are not pastors so they don't really have to know the word, they can get what they need from church.  That's ignorant!  What if my children never learned to cook or do laundry because they get those things from mom?  Well, mom won't always be around and even when they move out I won't be standing next to them when a question about cooking or laundry arises.  They will have to make their own conclusions and act for themselves.  They can teach other people to cook and do laundry, so their friends won't go hungry or be naked, and be lost.  It is our responsibility to pass on what we know to future generations!  Another excuse is that we don't have time.  Well, we have time for television or exercising or just being lazy so yes, we have the time.  It’s essential that we make the time to study for bible.  Imagine that your grandparent left you an old diary when they died.  It was a history of your family’s experiences and full of advice.  Would you read it?  Of course you would!  Just imagine the bible is God’s dairy, and who among us wouldn’t read a diary if it found its way into our hands?  If you have doubts the bible is true, adequate or complete, just READ IT and you will come to the same conclusion the majority of humanity has, it’s true and adequate and complete.  It is reliable and authoritative!  The more we read it the more it turns out to be.  Is it interesting?  Of course it is, but I will admit I don’t like reading Numbers.  It’s boring to me and I have never gotten much out of it, however, I still read it when its time comes up because I know one day God will make my heart open to receiving its message.  I don’t give up, I keep reading and studying.  I have made my own discoveries on topics I can relate to and I have uncovered spiritual truths for myself, not by just relying on my pastor or friends.  It does not take special training to study the bible, just an open heart and dedication.  I think studying the bible is essential to my own growth and spiritual maturity.  I hope you find the time today and every day after to open your bible and start reading God’s story.  May God bless your efforts.

Friday, August 5, 2011

SCHOOL IS ALMOST HERE

There are seven more days before my youngest starts high school.  I remember the day she graduated from elementary school.  I thought, Well, that phase is over with sadness.  She was going to begin a new life phase in middle school.  Now, she's off to high school.  My son is moving out in a week or so to go to college, my other daughter will also be attending college classes along with her high school classes.  They are past their childhood.  As I think about them this morning I'm thinking about how I used to enjoy the new start of a school year.  It was always a do over and I had high hopes I'd do better than the year before and I always looked forward to making new friends and experiences.  I have always loved learning; I still attend classes here and there just to keep myself entertained.  I have always thought there is more to the life I am living, not that I'm dissatisfied with it, just that I shouldn’t be content with being stagnant. 

I watch my children move forward in their lives and I’m so proud of them for living their lives in a Godly manner.  They are devoted to their faith and do not sit idly by and just listen to church sermons.  They move forward toward Christian maturity.  They help at church; my son is a youth group leader, and my eldest daughter was asked to help out with a new bible study the teenagers put together on their own.  My youngest is devoted to her daily bible readings and becomes upset if her quiet time is interrupted.  They can quote scripture better than I can and they know foundational principles that I see other kids struggling with.  I pray they will always have such passion for staying close to God on a daily basis and learning more as they mature. 

I am reminded of Philippians 3:13-14 which states Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.


I don’t think any of us should be satisfied with our knowledge of the bible or church principles.  There is so much to learn, but the prize is well done, good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21)  We must allow past hurts, failures and disillusionments fall to the wind and look forward to the life that the Giver of Life, Himself, has given us.  He is the Renewer of Hope, the Breath of Life and our Provider.  If we’ve had a rough time, emotionally, spiritually or physically, our Father is right alongside us waiting to fill us with new life and hope, to bring us out of whatever pit we’ve found ourselves in. 

So, as we all start our new school year, lets allow mistakes and heartache from the past not weigh us down and keep us from achieving what God has planned for us.  Let’s all have a bright attitude towards a new beginning and reach for the prize.  I pray for a safe and rewarding year for everyone going back to school and I look forward to more graduations each year for years to come.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

FAVORITE WEBSITES: TODAY'S BLOG - CHRISTIAN DEVOTIONS

FAVORITE WEBSITES: TODAY'S BLOG - CHRISTIAN DEVOTIONS: "http://encouragementjourney.blogspot.com/ ENCOURAGEMENT Encouragement for the Journey: Weekly Words and Devotions Life without encourage..."