“Coffee Anyone?”, asks God

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous…              Psalm 139:13-14

As I read my Bible this morning, I came across a verse in the Book of Luke that caused me to pause. When this happens, it reminds me of a record player when the needle gets stuck in a groove and keep repeating the same words or melody over and over and over.

record player 2

It’s at this point that I have a choice to make.  Ignore the prompting to reread, and move on, or stop to reread and ponder.

question

When it comes to Bible reading “they” say, “you have to cover “X” amount of chapters, verses, etc., and stick to your Bible reading plan.  If you don’t, you’ll never finish reading the Gospels, or the Psalms, or the Old Testament, etc.  And you’ll certainly never finish reading the entire Bible.”           It’s at this point that I ask myself, who’s “they” anyway??

I approach reading the Bible a bit differently.  To me reading the Bible is similar to talking with someone on the phone, texting, or meeting for coffee.  It’s all about the relationship.  It’s not a one-way conversation, it’s the sharing back and forth of feelings, facts, experiences, hopes, etc., between two people.  How silly it would be if I met someone for coffee and whipped out my “thoughts” list, and started rattling it off?  And then, when I was finished reading my list, I’d get up and walk out the door?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          list           friends coffee            walking-clipart-e1380249111426

When you see the above scenario in writing, it seems ludicrous.  Who would ever ask to meet a friend for coffee and read off a list?  Not to mention walking out without saying goodbye, or thanks for listening.  Yet, how often have we, myself included, interacted this way with God?

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve sat with a friend, started on one topic, and ended up touching of several others before the first cup of coffee was finished.  Or when a comment said in passing, turned out to be discussed in-depth.  When I meet up with friends I don’t have a checklist.  I’m getting together with them to catch up, and share what’s been going on in our lives.  If we just talk about what happened today, and never get to last week or next week, who cares.  This is what we needed, or wanted, to talk about now.

For me, this is the kind of relationship I have with God.  So when I’m reading the Bible and get the feeling I should pause and reread.  I pause and reread because I know that God has something to share with me.  I ask Him, “what are you trying to show me?  What do you want me to learn, to take with me today, to share with others, to change?”   I also thank God for encouraging me in a particular area, where I am on the “wise path”, and  thanking Him for all the blessings and provisions He gives me day in and day out.  I read with anticipation, eagerness, and appreciation that the Creator of everything wants to talk with me.  That He cares about me, and He loves our time together.

2 Timothy 3:16 says, All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.  Sometimes God gives us a warning, sometimes encouragement, and other times redirection to get us back on track.

As Hebrews 4:12 says, The word of God is living and active…  God wants to talk to us.  He wants to help us with our daily struggles.  He wants to bring us back to the safety of the “wise path”.

I once heard a pastor at Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa say, “it’s not how often or how much of the Bible you read, but that you live out what you’ve read.  Don’t just read the Bible to finish it, read the Bible to change.”                                                                                                                             

                             Matthew 5:13-16      light_salt

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Looking For Love in All the Wrong Places…. PROVERBS 2:16-19 [4]

The LORD stands beside me like a great warrior.  aslan lion         Before him my persecutors will stumble. They cannot defeat me. – Jeremiah 20:11

 

16 Wisdom will save you from the immoral woman,
    from the seductive words of the promiscuous woman.
17 She has abandoned her husband
    and ignores the covenant she made before God.
18 Entering her house leads to death;
    it is the road to the grave.
19 The man who visits her is doomed.
    He will never reach the paths of life.

Verses 16-19 are talking about another temptation people often face.  The media glorifies it, and people get entangled in its enticement.  The temptation – sexual sin.

The song, ‘Looking for love in all the wrong places’, from the movie Urban Cowboy comes to mind when reading verses 16-19.  The lyrics to the chorus are:

I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places
Lookin’ for love in too many places
Searchin’ her eyes, lookin’ for traces
Of what I’m dreamin’ of
Hoping to find a friend and a lover
I’ll bless the day I discover,
You – lookin’ for love.

urban-cowboy-21                          love lp

People tend to use sex in an attempt to fill “a hole”.  That hole, being a desire to love and be loved, as the lyrics above mention.

There is nothing wrong with having a desire for love.  In fact, it is God who gave us that desire.  Unfortunately, many times in our search for love we end up side-stepping God’s teaching and guidance.   We may find ourselves led astray by the ways and beliefs of our culture. Although we’ll find a ton of cultural support for our ungodly choices, the results may turn out to be anything but what we have hoped.

It is easy to get draw into sexual sin when led solely by feelings.  Often times people think that “I “feel” so happy, maybe if I sleep with ____, they’ll “feel” that same way about me.”  Or, “I have “needs”, and if God didn’t want me to fulfill them, He wouldn’t have given them to me.”  We’re reminded, however, in verses 18 and 19, that those who give into sexually immoral “feelings” are being led to death, not life.  They will be doomed, not blessed.

Remember God’s promise to us:

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. – Matthew 6:33