August 30, 2014

What Are You Learning? {TTB12}

How many of you read your Bible every day?

How many of you actually learn something from your Bible reading every day?

And by learn, I mean things like seeing God or mankind in a fresh new-to-you manner, realizing new aspects of His character that suddenly become more real to you, gaining new understanding of our need for His redemption… How often are the Scriptures new and fresh to you?

If they aren’t, can I suggest something? Take a step back from your devotions. Re-evaluate why you’re reading God’s Word. Examine your heart; figure out what you focus on when you read. Do you actually focus on the Word of God? Or are you a distracted reader, skimming your eyes over the page just to check it off your to-do list? Is your heart in it? Or are you reading out of a sense of duty, because that’s “what good Christians do” or what other people expect of you.

Do you take the time and energy to actually hear God’s voice as you read His words to mankind? Do you look for Him in every passage, whether it’s history or prophecy, narrative or poetry? Do you see Him in His own Word, really see who He is and how He interacts with His creation?

Are you really reading the Word, or are you just reading the words?

And if you are, what are you learning from it? It can be exciting to hear what others are learning from their time with God. It can be encouraging and stimulating and motivating. Which of course means that it can be discouraging, wearying, and even burdensome to not share what we’re learning with each other. To not have anyone else share that with you.

We are relational people, created that way in the image of God. We need each other – and we need spiritual fellowship with each other. It’s not just about getting, but about giving it as well.

So then, what have you been learning from God’s Word? What new understanding has He given you? What has He shown you about Himself, or about yourself, through your time with Him?

Me personally? I’ve been reading Daniel this past week. And I love seeing the humanity of Daniel, how he wasn’t much different than you or I. He was just more faithful or maybe more confident in His God. Scripture tells us that he even got anxious, and physically sick, from some of the visions God gave him. That sure sounds familiar. But he always returned to trusting God, and obeying God, and seeking to please God above all others. Even when it meant being thrown to the lions. To his worst enemies. He still obeyed, still sought God’s honor above his own comfort and convenience. And it makes me wonder – could I be a Daniel today? Do I have the confidence in my God to do what I know will please Him, regardless of the consequences? Do I have the confidence in Him to be at peace, to truly rest in Him no matter what the world around says or does? I am weak, I am sinful, I am human. But God is stronger than any weakness, more righteous than I can imagine, and infinitely greater than I can comprehend. How can I not be confident in Him?

But that’s just what I’ve been learning, or seeing with fresh eyes. How about you? What have you learned or been reminded of this past week?

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And for those reading the Blended Plan, here is next week’s schedule:

Sunday: Ecclesiastes 1-3, Revelation 10
Monday: Ecclesiastes 4-6, Revelation 11
Tuesday: Ecclesiastes 7-9, Revelation 12
Wednesday: Ecclesiastes 10-12, Revelation 13
Thursday: Numbers 1-2, Revelation 14
Friday: Numbers 3-4, Revelation 15
Saturday: Numbers 5-6, Revelation 16

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