Monday, March 10, 2008

RIF - Reading Is Foundational

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Making sense of what we read can be challenging at times. Even when we read the Bible.

Kevin hears a radio preacher tell him he needs to read his Bible to hear God speak to him. Kevin doesn't know where to start, so he just plops open his Bible and it lands in Leviticus 11. Kevin strains to hear God speak through a menu of unclean animals.

Amber wants to regain control of her life. One of her friends is a strong Christian who is always reading her Bible. Amber decides to give it a try and does the same thing Kevin did. Her Bible plops open to Ezekiel's vision of a spinning wheel thing that sounds like something in a sci-fi book.

Perhaps this has happened to you. You've gone to the Bible hoping to hear from God and it didn't happen. Maybe you struggled through a list of names in Matthew or scratched your head at the prophecies of Daniel.

Let me encourage you. Don't give up. The Bible is unlike any other book in the history of the world. You don't have to start at the beginning. You can start anywhere. You can settle on a Psalm, ponder a Proverb, or flip over to Philippians.

You can read about real people who face real challenges, make real mistakes, and find real forgiveness. If Matthew is hard to understand, try Mark or Luke or John. God will use one of them to speak directly to you today, and another one to speak directly to you tomorrow.

The Bible is like a mirror, according to James (1:23). But I find that the Bible can also be like a house of mirrors. You may read about the miraculous acts of Elijah and not identify with that mirror today. It may not reflect where you are today. But when you stand in front of the mirror of Job, you feel a connection because of the struggles and trials of your life today.

It may take effort. But anything worthwhile does. Reading your Bible tops the chart of "worthwhile." While God may speak to you through an email devotional or a Sunday school teacher or a television preacher, you need more than that. You need to read the Bible. It's not a matter of literacy. It's a matter of life.

It may take a while, but you will find the message from God that you need for your life. As you read, pray. Ask God to guide you in such a way that you do not miss what He wants you to hear.

Even in the most challenging portions of the Bible, God speaks.

By the way...there is a message in that mess of words in the opening paragraph. Use your "sixth sense" and circle every sixth word to find the most important message in the Bible.

Romans 10:17,
Perry Crisp

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