Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dust it off!

My husband and I have noticed something disturbing as we have been working the past few months as youth leaders at our church. It only took a week or two to realize, these kids aren't reading their Bibles. Ever. Maybe on Sunday morning, if they go to Sunday school and are asked to open and read something, but that's it. We have tried to get them excited and motivated about getting into the Word throughout the week, and gone to great lengths to get them to understand the importance of a Christian reading the Bible daily (we've even encouraged starting with just a few times each week). The result after almost five months? Nothing. Nada. They simply aren't interested. One girl said she doesn't really enjoy reading and that she doubts she will ever get around to reading her Bible. This girl comes from a Christian family, but she said she honestly has no idea where her Bible even is! 

As Brad and I have conversations with our own peers; friends from church, etc., we have noticed the same thing, surprisingly. Many of our Christian friends look at us crazy when in conversation somewhere, we mention something we read that morning during our devotion time. They ask, "You read your Bible every morning?" or tell us, "I wish I had time to read everyday; that's awesome!" To be sure: I'm the last person to judge. I haven't always read my Bible everyday. Most of my Christian life was spent reading at church, and when I did read at home, I was doing some sort of 'homework', or checking a box off so that I could 'get through' my reading plan. It wasn't until I came back to the Lord (after years and years of running) seven years ago that I started reading every single day. And let me be totally honest... I can't make it through a day [well] without it. I'm not ashamed to say that; quite the opposite actually. I am more aware than ever that I desperately need God each and every day in order to make it! I heard someone compare reading the Word to a person in a coma being hooked up to an IV. There will be days, sometimes weeks or months even, where we are either crazy busy and don't seem to have time to read, or where the Bible just seems dry and boring or repetitive. But we need to keep reading during those times. Just as the IV is sustaining the person in a coma while they're completely unaware of it, the Bible sustains us not only during the times we're excited about it, but also during the 'dry times'.

There's a short passage I have hanging on my bathroom mirror that I read as I brush my teeth. I was reading one day and I had read this Psalm many many times before, but it came alive to me one day and  I have loved it and clung to it ever since:

Blessed is the person...
Whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither--
whatever they do prospers.
Psalm 1:1a, 2,3

First, take the first word blessed. Blessed means 'happy'. Happy is the person who delights in reading the Bible! It's a no brainer right there. We all want to be happy, so we should read! :)
Second, who meditates on the Word day and night. It's not enough to just read some words on a page and check it off your to-do list for the day. Let it sink in and speak to your heart, and you will be a lot more likely to think about it through out the day! I love to drag my 'fake Bible', aka my phone Bible to bed with me at night and get comfy before glancing at a verse before drifting off to sleep. It's a great way to end the day, with our last thought being quite literally a word from God. Memorize scripture! I admit, I do poorly at this, but right now I have an accountability partner and we [try to] memorize a verse each week that we meet for coffee. Accountability helps :)
Third part, and my favorite of this passage is a picture; read the following and close your eyes and allow God to paint a picture for you...

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, 
which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither--
whatever they do prospers.

.........did you do it? Isn't it beautiful! I picture late spring/early summer, when everything is the most alive; there is life all around you; the trees have come into full bloom, the grass is green, colorful wildflowers are everywhere, and there is a stream of water, giving life to a big beautiful majestic tree growing alongside the stream. Giving life to it. And when it's time for fruit to grow, this tree will have the most amazing, abundant, sweet, juicy fruit, because it's firmly planted next to the stream, which gives it it's very life and ability to produce fruit. And it won't just produce fruit one time, but over and over and over, consistently and at the right times, and for the tree's entire life, so long as it's planted by the stream. That's us! As long as our lives are planted and rooted in the very Word of God, His promise to us is not only that we will be blessed, but that we will be fruitful, and last but not least, that whatever we do will prosper. Obviously this isn't limited to finances. In fact, we may seem to have the short side of the stick financially (although I would argue that if you're reading this from anywhere in America, you likely have the long side of the financial stick compared to much of the rest of the world!). Rather, God will prosper whatever we put our hand to, so long as it's in His will. That's pretty amazing and gives me courage and confidence to dream big, pray hard, and stay planted in the Word, knowing that He can and will accomplish things too big for me to dream or imagine on my own.

I pray this encourages you, if you struggle with the thought of dusting off your Bible and digging in on a regular basis. Try it and see what happens. Don't set a time limit. Just find a time that works for you and determine to do it, be it for 5 minutes or an hour. Don't let busyness be an excuse or hinderance. I can't stress enough how vital it is in the life of a believer to read the Word; God's letter written personally to each and every one of us! Let it wash over you and give you peace, joy, comfort, love, direction...whatever it is you lack, I guarantee you will gain when you open this book. It is a 'lamp to our feet and a light to our path', and I don't know about you, but I don't like walking a narrow windy path in the dark (I've tried; both literally, lost in the woods in the pitch dark, and figuratively, trying to walk through life on my own; neither went well for me!)

Open the Word and be blessed today :)


2 comments:

  1. I love reading your heart on this matter~ Praying that the power of God's word would change lives today!!
    www.allkindsofthingsblog.com

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  2. One of my favorite passages also :) Thank you for holding fast the Word of life!

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