Monday, August 30, 2010

Like a Bug

You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
uch knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
- Psalm 139:5-6

Ever felt like a bug? Sometimes I catch one in my house, where it shouldn't be, and trap it by throwing a tissue on top and "hemming it in" with my hand so there's no escape. This passage reminds me of a bug in a tissue, yet it is a comfort to me! I am snug as a bug, hemmed in with God's hand over me. I know who's got me, and I'm glad of it. I'm not about to be crushed, smushed, or flushed. Instead I'll be moved, protected, comforted, or blessed. The passage continues:

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
. . . even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you. - from Psalm 139:7-12

For the entire reading, see Sunday, August 29.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why I Read My Bible

Last month I set out on a thousand mile road trip to the east coast. That was a lot of driving, but I wasn't worried about getting lost. Before I left my driveway I carefully plotted my route on GPS, and as I drove east, I watched my progress on the screen. I kept that little LED road map right in front of my face, and methodically followed the route guidance, step-by-step.

The August 21 reading makes me think of that little car adventure. IF as a believer it is my passion to follow the Way, then I'll be as careful to stay on track in my daily walk as I was on the road to South Carolina. I'll read and store God's word in my heart and in my mind so that I can use it to orient myself about where I am and which way to go. I'll trust it to keep me from wandering off track in the decisions I make.

With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you. - Psalm 119:10-11

The New Testament portion of the reading complements the road map analogy, and reinforces the importance of Bible truth with additional word pictures:

A FOOD PICTURE (What are you having? A baby bottle or a big, juicy steak?)

I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it.
And even now you are not yet ready, for you
are still of the flesh - 1 Cor. 3:2

A BUILDER'S PICTURE (If we're like architecture,
we want to try to be a well-built house, right?)

. . . like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation [of teaching],
and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care
how he builds upon it. - from 1 Cor. 3:10-13

Back to the road map, here's another good mental image: a COMPASS. Picture yourself at the center of the compass, and say you want to head due north. If you're off by a single degree, you won't notice right away, but as you moved out toward infinity, you would find yourself very lost. For me reading the Bible is like checking, correcting, and staying true to my heading.

The more I read the Bible, the more I see its importance, and the better I know Jesus. Without time in his Word, I can't live right, nor can I convince anyone else of the truth. I pray for more passion to keep my nose in the Book, for me and for you. I pray that in this busy world, the barriers that keep us from nitty-gritty, focused, contextual Bible reading will be removed.

Monday, August 23, 2010

God Bless the Generous!

It is well with the [one] who deals generously
and lends. who conducts his affairs with justice . . .
He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is steady [and] will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph
on his adversaries. He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever . . . - from Psalm 112:5-9

My prayer is this: that it be well with generous guys and gals who find it a joy to lend. Let nothing stand in the way of their just conduct, their good work, and their service to others. May they never fear bad news, but stand firm, trusting in the Lord with steady hearts. May the good things they do endure and bear fruit for all time.

What a blessing to see what God is doing through generous hearts, to see the freedom with which they give, and to be a recipient! I've been bragging right and left per I Cor. 1:31. May the Lord bless the hearts of gold that He has created, and may he give them success in all they undertake. “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

This blog-blessing inspired by the August 19 calendar reading.