Monday, June 2, 2014

"Too Busy Not To Be In The Word!"

"Too Busy Not To Be In The Word!"

Chapters 3 and 4

As I was browsing the comments from last week I spotted Trish’s mention of Hebrews 4:12. (I’ll pause while you go look it up, sister!) Then, lo and behold, what’s on of the first verses Teri mentions in chapter 3? You guessed it!

Task/Comment #1 

In chapter 3, one of the questions asked you to make a list of the qualities of the Word of God as found in Hebrews 4:12.  Take another look at that list, and then look at 2 Timothy 3:16 for another list of things that the Word of God is valuable for.  Quickly, what is your favorite one? Or maybe it isn’t your favorite (like an ice cream flavor would be), but maybe it’s the one quality of the Word that stands out the most to you.  I’ll post my own answer in the comment section, too.

Fun Fact: 
Also in chapter 3 we read James 1:21 and answered a couple questions about the “engrafted” Word (or your version might say “implanted”).  Then she goes on to talk about grafting/implanting the Word into our lives. Did you know that one of the first steps of grafting (in the botanical world) is to actually CUT the branches you’re going to be grafting together? Now, take that idea and re-read Hebrews 4:12. Hmm…wonder what that double-edged Sword is good for? 

That was a free Fun Fact for you. :-)

I especially appreciated the opening lines of chapter 4: “Everything else we will cover in this book, you would eventually learn on your own simply through your personal time reading your Bible each day.”  But of course, the practical part of making this happen is always tricky, isn’t it? Or is it?!  In chapter 4 she really lays down some real-world, every day guidelines for making sure you have time for daily reading. 

The first: it must be non-optional. I’m not gonna lie – this is the toughest part for me – spending time in the Word every day, no matter what.  And I don’t have children or even pets!  She goes on from there to talk about the “when” and the “how long” parts of daily reading, but I think they’re all connected, and I think her underlying point is the most important: we MUST make new habits.  And whether that means you read every morning or every evening, or something in between, the important part is DAILY reading of at least one full chapter of the Bible. 

Task/Comment #2:

One of Raquel’s comments last week was about reading out loud to the kids like story time. I love that idea. I have fond memories of my own Grandmother (a wonderful, godly woman) visiting us for long periods of time, and I remember that she would read her Bible before she even got out of bed in the morning, and then again before she turned off the light at night!  This was her habit, and to my knowledge she never strayed from it!  So, who else has an idea to share or a way to help us start to make new habits for reading EVERY day?  It doesn’t have to be a long response, and it doesn’t have to be something YOU do personally – maybe it’s just something you’ve heard of and want to share.

Later in chapter 4 she talks about the “how” part of reading. I love the read-one-chapter a day routine, at least for starters.  I think that once you get started you’ll find it easier to add more chapters some days. :-)  

HOWEVER, I do want to offer an alternative to her system of finding a verse to apply to your life – or at least a word of caution when doing that. I would like to see us move away from looking for “application” every time we read Scripture.  While it is true that the whole Bible is applicable to us, I think that in this day and age the questions “how does that apply to me?” or “how is that relevant to my life?” have resulted in a lot of “me-centered” Christians. The truth is, though, that we should be Christ-centered Christians first!  So I would like to suggest that instead of asking what the “application” of a verse is, ask what the “implication” of that verse or passage is. 

To see this in action, let’s look at a passage Teri mentioned back in chapter 2 – it was a long section of 1 Corinthians 10, where we are given examples of what to avoid and what to do.  And then she told a story about how she had applied these verses to her own life in learning not to murmur.  Now, there is nothing wrong with that – we all need to be reminded and admonished about our behavior. But I think a broader IMPLICATION could’ve been made from these verses – one that reaches even to the woman who says she never murmurs! ;-)  Go back and read those verses (1 Corinthians 10:1-13), and instead of saying “how does this apply to me?” Ask this question: “What is the implication of the truth of this passage?”  I think you’ll find a slightly different answer – at least I did. 

My point is – it’s fine to look for verses that “apply” to you, but please also consider the implication of the words of the Bible. 

One more Fun Fact and then we’re finished for the week!  She talks about how, “in Scripture, we are likened to sheep, and sheep need to eat every day – multiple times a day, in fact.”  I recently read that sheep, if left to their own devices, will simply graze in the same patch or path over and over again until there is no more food, and then they’ll get sick and die! They must be moved (by their shepherd – they won’t go on their own) to a new location regularly. I like the spiritual connection for us – we need to resist the urge to “graze” in the same spot in the Bible every time we read.  ALL Scripture is profitable and worth feeding on – so let the Shepherd take you to another location and see what fresh Food is waiting for you there!

Only two tasks this week, so let’s get started! I look forward to hearing your responses, and really, don’t worry if you don’t write as much as I do, or as Trish does – we are verbose by nature! Haha! :-)