Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Never Stop Learning

I encountered something on a work related web site today that made me flinch. It was a rant from someone who is very worldly, very broken and very hostile to the gospel. Oddly enough, reading it was like a slap in the face and I caught myself physically wincing more than once. It's strange how words can affect us…

Well, after sitting there for a minute processing what I’d read, it occurred to me I needed to wash my mental mouth out with some Godly Listerine, as in, find something biblical to read in order to replace the bad taste with something sweeter.

So, I pulled up an interesting page on Pastor Max Lucado’s site and dove in.

It made me forget about the other site quickly, as I’m enamored with Pastor Lucado’s wordsmithing (Yes, I’ll say it, I have a writer’s man-crush on him).

The article is about studying the bible.

After reading through, it made me think of two different types of people I don’t quite understand.

1)    Those who have never read the Word for themselves yet assault it with a zeal that gives the impression the Bible itself has injured them grievously.
2)    Those who profess to love God but never pick the book up. Never take time to study it.

Now, as I detailed earlier, we should never judge others, but I’m far more puzzled by people who judge things they know nothing substantial about. How can someone condemn the Bible and all of Christianity, if they’ve never read the book?

How can someone claim to love God, yet fail to take time to learn about him? I love science fiction and you can rest assured I’ve spent countless hours immersed in it. I love my wife and have studied her since the moment I knew she existed. Could I truly say I love God if I spent less time learning about him?

Before I go further, I’d like to let you read a few bits of Pastor Lucado’s words for yourself.

The Bible is a peculiar book. Words crafted in another language. Deeds done in a distant era. Events recorded in a far-off land. Counsel offered to a foreign people. This is a peculiar book.

It’s surprising that anyone reads it. It’s too old. Some of its writings date back five thousand years. It’s too bizarre. The book speaks of incredible floods, fires, earthquakes, and people with supernatural abilities. It’s too radical. The Bible calls for undying devotion to a Carpenter who called Himself God’s Son.

Logic says this book shouldn’t survive. Too old, too bizarre, too radical.

The Bible has been banned, burned, scoffed, and ridiculed. Scholars have mocked it as foolish. Kings have branded it as illegal. A thousand times over the grave has been dug and the dirge has begun, but somehow the Bible never stays in the grave. Not only has it survived, it has thrived. It is the single most popular book in all of history. It has been the best-selling book in the world for three hundred years!
Let me pause right there and let that sink in. Moby Dick? Didn't sell as well. Huck Finn? Not even close. Harry Potter? Are you kidding me? As a writer with dozens of books in print, I’m keenly aware of sales charts, trends and the hit or miss nature of the written word. Knowing the bible has been the best seller since before anyone bothered tracking such things is a true testament to how powerful it is. No one on Earth could pull off that kind of sales campaign, even if an army of the best publicists ever born were hired to make it so.
But how do we use the Bible? Countless copies of Scripture sit unread on bookshelves and nightstands simply because people don’t know how to read it. What can we do to make the bible real in our lives?
This is a head scratcher for me. It’s as if some people think they’re Godly by osmosis. “If I have a big bible on my bookshelf, surely God will let me into Heaven.” Sadly, it doesn’t work like that. Owning a bible doesn’t make you a Christ follower anymore than owning a med school textbook makes you a brain surgeon. Thankfully, though, God offers us all a degree in Christianity that we don’t need to earn, but we do need to ask for and pursue. Pastor Lucado goes on to tell us how:
Before reading the Bible, pray. Invite God to speak to you. Don’t go to Scripture looking for your idea; go searching for His.
Every parent reading this knows the need we all feel to teach our children. How much stronger is that with God and his children (that's you and me!)? Whether you have kids or not, we can all benefit from more Biblical wisdom. Ask, and ye shall receive.
The truly happy people are those who carefully study God’s perfect law that makes people free, and they continue to study it. They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God’s teaching says. Those who do this will be made happy -James 1:25.
For more on Pastor Lucado’s bible studying tips, check out this link.

Now, go, get off the internet and go read your bible.

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