He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, July 13, 2015

It's Time For Serious Reading

        Do you remember your very first love letter?  I can’t say for certain I do, but I have come across passages in books I have read where the expression of love was so detailed and intense you could feel the exchange of affection between the couple.  (I’m not talking porn stuff here--just a good love story!)  There have been times where I’ve actually gone back and re-read slowly and deliberately the passage, and sometimes the entire chapter!  It’s what makes the book and characters believable and special!  Wouldn’t everyone want to be able to describe their relationship with their spouse this way? 

            I admit there are posts that pop up on face book every now and again from couples celebrating an anniversary and the way they describe their relationship, it sounds like they have the ideal marriage.  I suspect, even they have days where they aren’t on the same page, but if their post is accurate, they have a solid marriage. 

            One couple I have the pleasure of knowing makes me smile whenever I am around them.  It’s wonderful to watch them interact.  You can see their love for each other when their eyes meet, or when one will spontaneously reach out and touch the other.  It makes my heart melt every time.  Yet, again I suspect in private, they too, have the occasional disagreement.

            God’s Word has been described as God’s love letters to us.  I love the analogy, but immediately feel guilt.  Often I read the Bible more as a story, superficially even, than as a letter to me.  Read as a personal letter requires time, effort and serious thought processing, to really understand and gain the insight sitting there as golden nuggets, if only I took the time to “mine” the scriptures.

            Unlike our human relationships, God looks at us through eyes of love without the chance of “being off the same page” because His is a perfect love.  Now that said, there is an excellent chance if we are really digging into the Word with the pure intent of wisdom and guidance, we will find ourselves in need of confession because we will be convicted of how our lives are not what they should be.  God’s Word is alive, active and sharper than any double-edged sword.  It’s funny; even as I write these words it makes me wonder if that might be part of the reason we are so reluctant to “dig in.”  Could we be afraid of what God is going to tell us? Or are we afraid of what we are going to see?

            So I challenge you to choose a book, a chapter or several verses every day, and seriously read the words.  Ask the Lord for a clear and understanding mind and heart.  Then look for those special words that will tell you contextually what the Lord is saying.  Ask yourself questions.  Is there a repetition of words? (If there is you can be assured it’s important!) Are there contrasts or comparisons within the text, or cause and effect explained?  What figures of speech are used?  Who is being spoken to; Gentiles, Jews, the Sadducees or Pharisees, or someone else?  Is it before or after the arrival of Jesus?  Is there a command given? Is there a promise; or a promise with a condition? Where is the scene taking place?  How can you make what the Word is saying applicable to your own life?  This is making God's love letter real and an active part of who you are. 

            It’s time for serious reading. Today!  Now!  Find and read the love letters left to you by God.  It will thrill your soul!