As we headed to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon with our evangelist friends, I was once again reminded of another visit there. Although our canyon is nothing compared to the “real” Grand Canyon, it is still quite a site. The deep gorge carved by the Pine Creek over billions and billions of years (just wanted to see if you were really paying attention!), and the view from the top of the gorge is truly breathtaking. A four-mile round trip path called the Turkey Path literally zigzags its way to the bottom and trails a lovely waterfall as well.
In my teen years, while hiking back up the canyon, my friend and I decided to cut straight up and spare ourselves from some of the zigs and zags. This was not a problem for two of the shortcuts; however, the third shortcut missed the next bend in the path and instead led us out into uncharted territory! We found ourselves rock-climbing instead of hiking and I was really scared! Looking straight down into the yawning mouth of that canyon made my heart stop and my arms and legs shake! Obviously, I did not die, but that incident is forever etched into my memory!
Shortcuts – who wants to waste time in our day of counted seconds? EVERYTHING takes time, so we find ourselves reviewing the times tables with the kids on the way to soccer practice; or making that much needed return call while driving. We fold laundry while watching TV, and keep our minds humming while doing those mundane tasks throughout the day; and then, we wonder why it’s so hard to turn off our brains when our heads finally hit the pillow!
Artisans see this world in a totally different way because they KNOW that a masterpiece cannot be rushed! It takes time to sculpt a figure or paint a landscape or write a book! 🙂 Patience has been learned and past shortcuts have resulted in now understood failures!
My hiking shortcut could have cost me my physical life; and when I cut short my time with the Lord, it will also cost me my spiritual life! We will not grow in our spiritual walk without that quiet time! Is that perhaps why Satan fights us so to keep are triste with God? Oh, how well he knows the destruction which little or no Bible reading will produce. Here are just a few: WARNING, the following statements may break your heart
- A destroyed marriage. Marriage is so hard. How in the world anyone can accomplish a successful marriage without a lot of prayer and Bible is beyond me! You may say, “Well, I see a lot of successful marriages and the couple aren’t even Christians.” Duh! They do not have YOUR enemy!
- Wayward children. Is there any greater heartache for a mom or dad? I am truly convinced that our children CAN turn out loving the Lord if we set that example before them; but why would they love the Lord if our lives are reflecting our love for this world’s treasures and counterfeits? Sadly, we are reaping what we are sowing.
- Lost loved ones. Our poor testimony is convincing our unsaved friends and families that they are doing just fine without salvation!
- Sadness and discontent. There is nothing sadder than a worldly Christian. He can’t be happy in the world, because his conscience won’t let him alone; and he can’t be happy with Christians because he can’t relate to them.
- Depression, stress, sickness… Will we ever know all of the ramifications resulting from a lack of Bible time? Not until we see Jesus.
HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE:
- PRAY – Every time – EVERY TIME, I ask the Lord to show me what He wants me to see, He DOES! It is so awesome. This morning, I could hardly contain myself, and I didn’t read much, but Oh, was it good!
- Your best friend is a good study Bible: Life Application Bible, Scofield Study Bible, Thompson Chain – these are my favorites, but there are others
- Matthew Henry Concise Commentary – you can get this for $1.99 on a kindle. Again, there are lots of commentaries. MH is my personal favorite! (Also a dictionary. I have Matthew Henry, the Bible, and a dictionary on my kindle, so if I come to a difficult word and I’m not sure of its meaning, I just put the cursor in front of the word, and BINGO: the definition comes up! [Know that’s not much help for you less “techie” folk. Sorry!])
- PEN AND NOTE BOOK – write, write, write. You don’t have to be a writer to do this. 🙂 Start by just looking for one verse that really speaks to you and write it down. You could also write your thoughts about it, or write a short prayer. I’m not sure why writing it down helps so much, it just does; I’m sure an educator could give you the reason.
Take a shortcut on your walk, or your other reading, or your facebook time, or your shopping. Let the laundry go for a half hour. It will still be there! Read your Bible. Our kids and our world are dying for a lack of it in our lives, dear Christian! And you are dying too. It’s like cancer – so often, you don’t see the affects until it is too late.
Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips;
I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. Job 23:12
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Tom MacAvoy, pastor | Steam Valley Bible Church