Tag Archives: Bible study

Know Your Directions and Itinerary

If we’re looking at life as a big adventure, like a big trip, it’s important to know where we’re going and what we’re doing. Imagine trying to successfully complete a long road trip across the country without even bothering to look at a set of directions. In today’s age of smartphones and GPS devices that’s almost unheard of, because at some point we all break down and look at what the maps say. However, just imagine you were going to try that. How successful do you think you’d be? What roads and exits should you take? Where should you stay? If you don’t have reservations ahead of time, it can be a real problem. I can remember a time when I was traveling for the US Air Force and they mishandled a hotel reservation, telling me I had one when I didn’t. I was standing in the lobby of the hotel where I didn’t have a reservation, in a suburb of Washington, D.C., trying to find somewhere, anywhere, to stay that was closer than Gettysburg, PA. I was seriously considering heading back to the airport and sleeping the night in one of the terminals before the folks I was going to meet were able to locate me a place. It was a nightmare. That’s not something you want to face on a long cross-country trip. You want to know where you’re going and where you’re staying and even what you’re going to be doing. Unfortunately, when it comes to faith in Jesus Christ, I suspect we don’t do such a good job of this.

  And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. – 2 Peter 1:19-21, ESV

Peter wrote about the fact that we should pay attention to the prophetic word, the Word of God, as we would a lamp shining in a dark place. In other words, Peter was urging us to be into the Bible, to know it with a passion and fervor that you’d find in someone who was lost in the dark but suddenly saw a light source in the distance. We should want to read and know the Bible like someone who is without directions but who was finally handed a GPS device with accurate instructions to get them safely home. Is this the way you look at the Word of God? If you’re like most of us, then your answer is, “No.” However, this is what we are striving for. It’s like if we were wanting to be samurai back when the samurai were predominant in feudal Japan. Here is what Yamamoto Tsunetomo said in the Hagakure:

  Although it stands to reason that a samurai should be mindful of the Way of the Samurai, it would seem that we are all negligent. Consequently, if someone were to ask, “What is the true meaning of the Way of the Samurai?” The person who would be able to answer promptly is rare. This is because it has not been established in one’s mind beforehand.

We could turn those same questions around being a Christian. Could we answer this question well, “What is the true meaning of the Way of the Christian?” The person who would be able to answer promptly and accurately is rare. Why? Simply because of the fact that we have not established this in our minds beforehand. How do we do that? We do it by coming to understand God’s Word. We learn it, understand it, and apply it. The Gospel becomes more to us than simply words on the page. Rather, the words of Scripture become that lamp in the darkness, one which we long for and fight our way to. It can be this way. It should be this way. We should always be prepared to give a ready answer for our faith. That only comes by hungrily learning the Word. It is also the way we get our directions and itinerary for life. It comes down to the BIble. Our directions must be founded in the Bible. It is the only way to experience the great adventure fully.

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Don’t Let Your Ears Be Tickled

Bible teachers and theologians generally talk about the lack of Bible knowledge among Christians today. There is clear evidence that supports this, as many Bible colleges have stopped giving Bible knowledge tests to incoming students (who were grew up attending church), assuming they have very little to no knowledge after years of increasingly poorer results on these tests. Usually when I talk with folks about this or a related subject, one of the most frequent responses I hear back, “But my pastor is a godly man and he knows the Word!” This always causes me to stop and pause. The question I want to ask, but often hold my tongue because I know it won’t do any good, is, “How do you know?” See, we are warned that as the days grower closer to Christ’s return, more and more folks will begin to lean towards “preachers” who tell them what they want to hear, rather than sharing from God’s Word:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.  – 2 Timothy 4:3-4, NASB

I’m like anyone else and I like to hear when I’m doing things right, when things are going to be better, when the message is positive. We all like positive messages. However, the catch is our desire for a positive message should not outweigh our demand for the truth. The warning Paul was giving Timothy is there will be a time when within the Church folks will be more interested in hearing messages that make them feel good rather than listening to messages which clearly put forth God’s truth. The problem is made worse when folks inherently trust the person bringing the message but don’t have the knowledge to know that what the man or woman is saying does not match up with what the Bible teaches. Let me use an analogy to explain.

One time when I was schedule to go on a long flight, I happened to be sitting at a window where I could clearly see the mechanics working on or around one of the engines. I know a little more about aircraft engines now then when I took that flight, because I was a kid then. However, I still really don’t have much knowledge about aircraft engines. Sure, I’ve flown on quite a few planes, grew up as a Marine dependent with a dad who worked on military aircraft, spent four years in Air Force ROTC, graduated college with degrees in physics and mathematics, spent four more years in the US Air Force, and read some here and there, but I don’t know much about aircraft engines. That’s the truth. And if an aircraft mechanic said he fixed the issue and then went into detail about what he did, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea if he was telling the truth or not. I’ve been around aircraft all my life and I even have a close family member who has worked on aircraft. But that doesn’t make me knowledgeable about aircraft engines.

Similarly, without breaking out God’s Word and delving into it, we can’t know it, or at least we can’t know it well enough to tell when someone is “tickling our ears.” Case in point: I remember recently when someone asked, “Doesn’t the Bible say…?” and gave me a quote. It certainly sounded Biblical, but it wasn’t. It was a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. And while it was a fine quote and one we should try and honor, it wasn’t from the Bible. So just like I can’t be able to tell if an aircraft mechanic is fooling me and telling me what I want to hear unless I actively learn aircraft mechanics, we can’t tell if someone is fooling us with respect to anything related to the Bible or Bible teaching unless we take the time to know the Bible. Sound Bible knowledge is a must. A desire for sound Bible knowledge and teaching is a must. This is how seriously God takes it:

Now therefore hear the word of the LORD. “You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel,and do not preach against the house of Isaac.’ Therefore thus says the LORD: “‘Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be divided up with a measuring line; you yourself shall die in an unclean land, and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.'”    – Amos 7:16-17, ESV

God isn’t playing games about the message He has delivered to us. He has taken it upon Himself to pour out to us His special revelation. If we don’t take it seriously, if we don’t clamor for sound Bible teaching (that we know is sound because we have studied the Scriptures), the consequences are dire. The people had reached a point where they didn’t want to hear any bad news. They didn’t want to hear God’s warnings against Israel. Because they choose to have their ears “tickled” by positive messages telling them everything was okay, they missed the warnings. They missed the opportunity to correct the course. And they suffered accordingly. I don’t want that consequence in my life, nor in the lives of my children. Therefore, it is important not to have my ears tickled, but to hear the truth, whether I like it or not.

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The Miracles of Jesus (9/35)

Do our traditions and observances keep us from doing the right thing? Do we trap ourselves in our own restrictions when we know in our hearts we should act? Or are we so caught up in our traditions and observances that we cannot see what is right? That is what is at the heart of the miracle we’ll look at today.

He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!”

And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.
– Mark 3:1-6, NASB

The first thing to notice about this miracle is that Jesus initiated the whole scene. We don’t have any indication that the man with the withered hand came up to Jesus. What we do see is that Jesus knew He was surrounded by enemies. He was surrounded by people who clung so tightly to their own traditions and interpretations that they could not see the truth of Jesus’ words. This would be a recurring theme in the rest of Jesus’ ministry and it is a recurring issue in our churches today. Jesus asks a simple question which basically amounts to, “Can you do something good to help someone on the Sabbath?” His question goes beyond trivial matters and cuts to something really important: a person’s life. He’s trying to get them to wake up and think. But they are only caught up in one thing: is Jesus going to heal on the Sabbath? Let’s take this apart, shall we?

The Sabbath was established by God. Healing would have to come from God. Therefore, if Jesus were able to heal on the Sabbath, that meant God allowed it. God permitted it. In other words, it was not in conflict with God’s establishment of the Sabbath. Seems pretty cut and dry, right? Not with these guys. They expected Jesus to heal on the Sabbath. They were waiting on Him. And when He did, they were going to start planning to get Him. After all, He was violating the rules they had established on the Sabbath. He was challenging their authority. The fact that He was acting under God’s authority was irrelevant to these guys. Whoa. Stop right there. When did our authority ever become greater than God’s? And that’s the point Jesus was driving home.

But they didn’t get it. In fact, after He challenged their authority, and angrily at that, they decided to plot with the Herodians for Jesus’ death. We don’t know much of anything about this group of people, but we can gather from the name they were friendly with Herod or favorably disposed towards Herod’s rule. In other words, the Pharisees began conspiring with folks who should have been their enemies in order to have Jesus killed. Think about how far they’ve gone down the road of disobedience. Not only are they openly opposing Christ on the matter of the Sabbath, disregarding the clear sign of God at work, but they are even now conspiring to kill the one chosen by God. How then could they have ever considered themselves holy in God’s sight? Yet they did.

It’s easy to point fingers at the Pharisees and say, “Look at how horrible they were!” But the fact of the matter is that we can be just as blind. We can miss what God is doing because we’re caught up in our own trappings. This is true whether we’re talking about the Church, about an individual church, or about an individual. The key here is to to really think about what God is saying through His Word. Just about every gifted Bible teacher I’ve ever read has pointed out that it takes more than just sitting and hearing the Word preached on Sunday mornings, or even reading through the Bible. It takes sitting down and really chewing on the Word. We don’t like that word meditation because of the images it brings about, but they say that it takes meditating on the Word in the traditional sense. In other words, reading over Scripture, carefully considering it, weighing it against our own lives, and seeing how we measure up. This is something that as the Church we’ve lost sight of for the most part, and it’s telling. If we’re not doing this, we’re making the same mistake these Pharisees did.

Here’s the good news we can take away from this miracle. No matter what obstacles Man puts in the way of God, our Lord will accomplish His will. And we know that means He will continue to provide guidance, He will continue to meet our needs, He will continue to help us deal with tough situations, and He will continue to be there right beside us, every step of the way. Nothing and no one can stop God. Just because we can be hard-headed and fools, that doesn’t mean that God stops looking at what’s the best thing for us. In other words, God continues to overcome our faults not because we deserve it, but because He chooses to extend grace and love for those whom He has called. We serve an awesome and mighty Savior, one who takes care of us in spite of our sometimes misguided efforts that get in His way.

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The Sweet Taste of Scripture

God is amazing in His completeness and in His mercy. I am struck by this every time I spend any time in the book of Isaiah. Reading over and over again how Israel deserved the punishment it eventually received, I am overwhelmed by how God tells her He will call Israel back to Himself and restore her. He tells her He has already prepared One who will redeem her, One prepared before the beginning of time. As an extension, the Church is the ingrafted branches and so these promises apply to us, too. These promises delight my soul and cause me to just stop in awe at how wonderful God is, how unbelievable His promises are to us, and how totally unworthy I am of receiving any of them. Yet still He promises to do all these great things, because it’s up to Him and not up to me. And then I come across a passage like the following:

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

– Isaiah 55:1-2, NIV

So often I hear folks say they don’t have time for Bible study. I usually hear this among the youth or among men who have not taken the time to make an honest effort to read the Scriptures. The usual excuse is that there is so much going on that this is one more thing to do in a busy day. However, listen to the promise here. God is saying those of us who are thirsty, He will quench and it won’t cost us anything. He reminds us that we spend our money and our time on these that won’t satisfy us and won’t fulfill us. He asks us why we do it! And then comes the gentle reminder that if we come to Him, He will give us what is good and delightful for our soul. Spending time in the Word isn’t a chore. It’s a joy! If we’re looking at it as another task to accomplish, we’re looking at it all wrong.

God wants us to know Him. He wants us to take the time to investigate Him. He knows that when we do so earnestly, we will find Him fulfilling. And the best way to come to know Him is to read the Word He has prepared for us. It is filled with information about who He is, what we are in comparison to Him, and what He has done, is doing, and will do in our lives, if we just let Him. The Word contains so many reminders of how God promises us so much. It tells us that even when we feel our loneliest, God is still right there. When we hurt, He aches, too, but we can still go and cry on His shoulder and seek comfort from the only One who can give us true peace. When we are happy and filled with excitement, He is there to rejoice with us. And when we’re confused and unsure of what to do next, He is there waiting to give us direction, if we’d only just ask Him. All these things are said over and over again in His Word. The Bible tells us He is an actively engaged heavenly parent, looking for what is best for us, wanting to shower us with His love, willing to discipline us so we don’t get into worse trouble later on, and always keeping an eye on us so the Enemy can’t snatch us away. After reading things like this over and over again, I cannot help but want to spend a few more minutes in His Word whenever I get the chance.

And that’s how God wants us to look at the Bible and spending time in it. He wrote it so we would know Him. And the more we come to know Him, the more we understand how little this world can offer us that will fill us up and leave us content. The Word is there to make our lives stuffed with His goodness. It’s like at Thanksgiving Dinner when we eat too much and we’re lying on the couch rubbing on our bellies and thinking, “That was so good.” Too much of that turkey is not good for us. However, God’s Word is there for our spiritual bellies and there’s no such thing as too much there! Scripture is supposed to be this way for us. If it’s not, either we’re approaching it with the wrong attitude or we just haven’t given it a fair chance. Because once we start reading what God intends for us, how He’s got treasures stored up for us and how He meets our every need and how He is willing to satisfy the desires of our hearts when we are in Him, how can we do anything but desire it more? Hopefully this week sees you off tasting the sweetness of the Word God has prepared for you and me.

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Biblical Literacy, Part II

One of the things I tell my boys is that what they say doesn’t always equal what they believe. What they do does. For instance, if they say, “Thrashing my dad in a tactical wargame is my highest priority,” the proof is in what they do. If they’ve broken out the game and are trying different strategies and troop combinations and that is what they spend the bulk of their free time on, then they believe what they say. But on the other hand, if they’re constantly driving around on Mario Kart DS and that takes up a whole lot more time than their wargaming efforts, then they don’t believe in what they said. What is really true there is, “Throwing shells and dropping bananas as I speed and slide my way to victory in a racing game is my highest priority.” What we do shows what we believe. That’s why dad wins the wargame and loses in the racing game. Along those lines, if we say “Christ is first in my life,” but He isn’t first in our time, then we can say that statement all we want, but it’s not really true. And that brings me to the second reason I’ve seen a lot for a lack of biblical literacy: lack of time.

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
– Luke 12:16-21, NIV

The rich fool here was focused on worldly things, mainly his earthly wealth. He wasn’t thinking heaven-ward. And as a result, he was caught unprepared. Verse 15, which precedes these verses has Jesus reminding the crowd that any kind of greed is bad. We often think of greed as a look to have more stuff or more money. But it could also be to have more power or more prestige or a better position in life. There’s nothing wrong with wanting better, the whole thing is where is it in relation to other priorities in our lives? That’s the key. And that goes back to what I say to my sons. If work and TV and hobbies all get time in our lives, but Bible reading and study does not, that says what our real priorities are. Our priority is not Christ, despite what we say with our words. Our actions tell the true tale.

We should have dedicated time with Christ every day, both for Bible study and for prayer. That’s the ideal. That’s the expected. But some folks claim they can’t make this kind of time commitment. That saddens me. But what makes me even sadder is that there is no effort made at all. This is especially depressing considering how easy it is nowadays to do so. There are pocket Bibles you can carry around with you. I have four or five. If a person has a hard time reading text that small, there are plastic magnifying glasses that will do just fine. One of my pocket Bibles even came with one. With our mobile phones that have Internet access, there is always the ability to open up Scripture. And a lot of the phones now have Bible apps. There’s time enough to check the scores on ESPN or update a Facebook status but not enough time to read the Word? Then there is the Bible on Tape/CD. There are some radio stations that read through the Bible by reading a passage for 15 minutes each day. So here in the USA, there’s plenty of opportunities to “find the time” through some means. It’s just a matter of what we want most.

If Christ is our first priority, if He is our first love, then studying His Word will be a priority in our lives. We won’t have to fit Him in. Actually, if we’re thinking along those terms, that’s a warning sign that He has slid down our priority list and it’s time to put Him back in His proper place. We have the time. We just have to make sure we honor it. After all, Christ told that parable for a reason. He wanted to make sure we were prepared. He wanted to make sure our eyes wouldn’t be on earthly things, which won’t stand the test of time, but rather on Him, which will. We don’t have to be like the rich fool. The choice is ours. Let’s honor what lasts forever rather than what’s gone in the blink of an eye.

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Biblical Literacy, Part I

David G. Wells said this, “In the intervening years I have watched with growing disbelief as the evangelical Church has cheerfully plunged into astounding theological illiteracy.” Unfortunately, he’s right. The lack of Biblical knowledge among God’s people today is astonishing. The Bible is our instruction book. It reveals what God expects of us. It also reminds us of what God has promised. Without a sound knowledge of the Bible, a Christian is like a carpenter who doesn’t know how to cut wood. I’ve seen three main reasons for this lack of Bible knowledge. There may be more, but I’ll look at these three over the next three days. My point is to encourage us to overcome these reasons. We need to learn and know our Bibles. We can reverse the trend Wells and others have seen. So what are the reasons?

The first is fear. It’s a big book. It is a mix of prose and poetry. Some of the concepts come from an Eastern culture and that may make it hard to understand. So we’re afraid we can’t understand it. But instead of saying that, we simply say, “I can’t.” And then the excuses begin to flow. One excuse is we don’t have time. That could be an excuse or it could be the second main reason. We’re listening to the world and we want it all. Satan has reprogrammed this world where we’ll never be satisfied with what we have. And we buy into that line of thinking. So we’re so busy that we don’t have time to delve into serious study of the Word of God. And then there’s the lie that the Bible isn’t all that relevant to daily life. You’ve got genealogies, histories of nations long since gone, and people whose names are hard to pronounce who’ve not walked among men in thousands of years. I’m sure this is one of Satan’s most prized accomplishments: getting us to believe the Word of God is not relevant to our lives. There are more reasons, I’m sure. But we’ll stick to these three and today we’ll look at fear.

As we grow older, we learn to hate failing at things. Failing at things makes us less likely to try new things. That’s why we stick with what we know. Now there are two ways we might think we will fail when it comes to Bible literacy. The first is we think we can’t do it, period. And the second is we can’t do as well as some other person we know. Let’s deal with the second one first.

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the field God has assigned to us, a field that reaches even to you. We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our area of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in another man’s territory. But, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. – 2 Corinthnians 10:12-18, NIV

It is not good to compare ourselves to others for the sake of boasting or saying, “Look what I can do!” In reality, the only comparison should be to the expectation God has of us. Case in point, I have a Christian brother who can draw really well. I can’t. If I compare myself to him based on drawing and say, “I might as well not try because I can never draw like him,” I’m making a mistake. On the other hand, when it comes to playing flute, I’m a far better player than he is. That might have something to do with the fact that he was a trumpet player and never touched the flute! It is likewise foolish for me to say, “Man, I am simply awesome! Look how much better I can play flute than that guy!” If God calls me to draw, I draw. If God calls me to play flute, then I play flute. It matters not what my Christian brother can or can’t do in comparison to me. And therefore, when it comes to reading and learning God’s Word, it’s not about being compared to someone else. Rather, it’s about doing so at the level God has made us capable of. That’s the point of comparison. How am I doing compared to that?

And that brings us to fear of failure. We already have failed. Remember Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God?” We’ve already failed when it came to sin. But that didn’t stop us from accepting Christ’s gift of grace, now did it? Since we have accepted Christ’s gift of salvation, we should seek to understand it and grow in it. How do we do that? By craving the Word. This is what Peter had to say about growing with respect to our salvation:

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. – 1 Peter 2:1-3, NASB

We are to put aside all the squabbles and political battles with one another. We are simply to crave the Word. Crave it like a hungry baby seeking nourishment. If we claim we know salvation, we should want that spiritual milk. We should want to know God’s Word. We should desire it. And if we do, we are reminded that we will be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). Who cares about fear? We shouldn’t. Not when it comes to seeking after God’s Word. We will be satisfied. We won’t fail. That’s because God Himself has made a promise on this one. And though we might fail each other, He never will.

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Deep Diving into the Word

In IT, we use the phrase “deep dive” whenever we talk about really digging into the guts of a technology. For instance, a deep dive would be expert class information, and it expects a certain level of effort by whoever is going along for that deep dive. You can’t just sit back and let a deep dive wash over you. Well, you can, and some do, but you won’t get much out of it. Instead, a deep dive works best if you’re engaging your brain, trying to relate what’s coming at you fast and furious with what you already know. Now one of the issues with deep dives is that you may get an “instructor” who isn’t really qualified to take you on that deep dive. If that’s the case, you’re expecting to go somewhere that you’re not. I’ve sat in my fair share of seminars and presentations and thought the presenter was going to a really expert level, only to be disappointed when we just barely scratch the surface. So if you’re keeping score at home, there are two expectations: a competent leader and a prepared and active participant. You get that combo together and you then see the real value of a deep dive. It allows for the transfer of knowledge in a relatively short period of time. It can very well be career changing. So folks like me in IT love deep dives. Done right, and the only thing better is actual hands on experience. But a lot of the time, the deep dive is what prepares you for that hands on experience. So deep dives are awesome.

“So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD
His going forth is as certain as the dawn;
And He will come to us like the rain,
Like the spring rain watering the earth.”
– Hosea 6:3, NASB

I like the wording of the NASB version here. Hosea is saying to press on to know God. This isn’t a lazy Saturday afternoon casually glance at the Sunday School lesson for the next day type of attitude. Nor is it mindset where one hurriedly scans the Sunday School lesson right before the teacher begins talking about it. And it certainly isn’t the lackadaisical read the Bible, “whenever” type of attitude, either. Hosea says to “press on.” This is diligent. This is focused. This is active. This is intense. Why? Because God is real. And as we press to know Him, as we seek diligently to grow in our knowledge and faith in Him, He will be there. It’s not a fruitless search. Rather, it’s a continuous quest where the prize is right there with us. Hosea is calling us to do a deep dive on God.

This is why I sometimes get discouraged when I hear folks talk about not having enough time to read God’s Word. Not enough time = not a priority. If it’s not a priority, then we’re not pressing on. And then we’re being disobedient. Likewise, I often hear folks talk about how they don’t have time to read books on theology, books which discuss the Word, books which bring about a greater understanding of the Word. But they’ll have time for other things. If Christ is the greatest treasure, if knowing Him is the greatest thing we can do, then how can we justify anything over growing in our knowledge and relationship with Him? Yes, those folks talking includes me (I’m far from innocent). So let’s stop with the they and start with the we. Why do we get misled like this? Why do we allow ourselves to be take off the right path like this? Why do we settle for excuses? Do we not know that if we diligently seek after God we will find Him? We can make excuses like we don’t read well. Or that we’re trying to read other things, like for work, or for a, well, um, a hobby. But those are excuses. Our efforts to seek after God will be rewarded. Too many times we limit ourselves. And if reading is a true impediment, there are other options, like books on tape. Like recorded sermons. Like RSS feeds of folks who are called to preach the Word and expound upon it in proper context and examination. There’s a solution for every issue. We just have to want to embrace them. We just have to want to press on to know the Lord.

Don’t settle for less. Settling for less means getting less than what God wants for you. Rather, press on to know God. There is nothing on this earth worth as much as that. There is nothing anywhere any greater than that. Fight to stay on the path, no matter how much the flesh or the Enemy tries to convince you off of it. When we seek after God, we will find Him. And look how Hosea phrases how God comes to us, “like the spring rain watering the earth.” That’s a beautiful picture. God comes to us as the spring rain, the rain that brings moisture so life can begin anew. He will refresh us. He will spur life in our wintered limbs again. He will cause us to bud and blossom. All we have to do is press on to know Him. What a promise!

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