Wouldn’t it be cool to receive a text message from God everyday to give you insights on how you are doing and what He would like you to do? I recently downloaded an “app” for my phone that has the complete Bible on it, in 25 different English versions. I found several services online that will text or e-mail a new Bible verse to me every day. I also have a “gadget” on my computer that gives me a fresh Bible verse right on my screen. I have at least 5 different print Bibles on the shelf in my study and another 5 computer programs from which I can read and study God’s Word. I can bring up Bible web pages from all over the world to see what it says and what people have written about it. On the radio, I can tune to several stations that preach the Word 24 hours a day. Even with all these resources available, the reality is that people have stopped reading their Bibles and seeking guidance from God’s Word.
I see truth in the words of the Old Testament prophet Amos who wrote (Amos 8:11-12), “Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord GOD, "That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, But shall not find it.”
How can this be true? The Bible is still a best seller and is available in thousands of languages. From experience, people are just not getting into the Bible and letting the Word get into them. They are reading every other “self-help” book on the market and let their Bible collect dust. There is a big difference between praying to receive God’s insights and actually seeing God’s insights in print.
I’ve spoke with many people who believe that they are praying, meditating and contemplating to a “god” who gives them comfort and peace. I don’t have a problem with this discipline, as long as reading a passage of the Holy Bible is part of it. Seeking God and His everlasting Peace through prayer alone is like leading yourself on a path without a map or compass.
Jesus spoke about a wide path that leads to destruction and there are many who travel on it (Matthew 7:13). He implies in later passages that there are leaders who contradict God’s Word, but they stand and proclaim themselves to be God’s spokesperson.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
The key here is to DO the will of the Father. But how does one know God’s will if His Word isn’t read?
Joshua wrote (Joshua 1:8), "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
There’s that word DO again: “observe and DO all that is written” in God’s Word. Not what the guy on the radio says. Not what the best-selling author says. Not what the guy who speaks at the big mega-church on TV says. “DO WHAT IS WRITTEN.”
I like what happened in the book of Acts where Paul and Silas were teaching. After they taught it says (Acts 17:11), “they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” They did not trust the messenger. They searched God’s Word DAILY to make sure what was being taught by Paul and Silas was true.
Here lies the problem. We are so eager for some new and fresh teaching, that we wander off the path in our search, and get caught up in a snare of a believable leader who tickles our ears with fancy talk which is not based on God’s Word. I spoke to a former follower of cult leader Jimmy Jones who told me the first thing Jones did to control the flock in the 1960’s, was to throw out the Bible.
People are, as Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:7 “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
A good leader should be pointing his or her flock to the Truth of God’s Word. A good leader should be pointing to a saving knowledge of God’s Grace. A good leader should be pointing to Jesus and then get out of the way.
The cool mountain rain drums against the taught nylon tent above my head as I lay on my dry sleeping bag inside, waiting for the storm to pass. The lightning plays a psychedelic light show on the fabric dome as the thunder rolls from the top of the mountain to the valley below. I half imagine myself as an early settler to the area, wondering what it is that is making the frightening noises and disturbing my peaceful slumber.
As I lay quietly, a tiny ant nibbles at my ankle.
My mind is set spinning by the science of God’s great creation. I wonder how I can hear the thunder and the rush of the wind and rain in the trees. What is it that allows me to see the flashes of light in the darkness? Why can I feel the ant? How can I even think about the things that I think about? Yes, I have faith that the neurons, synapses and endocrine systems are all working in symphony, because of the science, but that simple faith gives way to the deeper faith of the order created out of chaos.
The thought smashes through my brain that My God and Creator, with the stroke of His hand, encoded the very spiral strands of DNA within EVERY CELL inside me to see, feel, hear and do! The precise and delicate program He has written makes me who I am, instead of being a mindless ant.
In 1637, the French philosopher René Descartes wrote, “I think, therefore I am.” God said, “I Am that I Am” (Exodus 3:14), which I like to read as, “I AM God and you are not.” All the thinking and reasoning will not make a person exist, unless God made it so.
Here is a brief description of our Creator from the words of the Bible:
John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
Colossians 1:15-17 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
When the weather clears and the storm clouds fade away into the darkness, I leave the fabric dome of my shelter to witness the dome of the night sky. The magnificence of His artwork is splashed upon the darkness. I imagine myself launching out into His great universe, away from the problems of this world to seek His face in the infinity of space. While I cannot fathom the infinite size of the universe, as big as that is, I know God is not only its creator, but He is bigger. I look backwards to my home, but realize even the star around which the Earth revolves is engulfed in a sea of stars.
It makes me feel so small. How is it that the One who is capable of this kind of work can still know me in the smallest detail? It is Jesus, the One described in John 1 and Colossians 1, who said in Matthew 10:30, "The very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
Recently a local preacher reminded me that believers in Jesus will inherit all that belongs to God. Then the preacher opened my eyes by reminding me that this includes the moon, planets and the stars, too! Heaven is not going to be a boring time. I’m going to visit ALL of God’s creation, even to galaxies that have never been seen by the very best of man’s creations – even if it takes a billion years!
Psalm 8:3-5 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
Thank you Lord, for coming to this little speck of a planet to tell us of your gift of salvation through Your sacrifice.
Thank you Lord, for giving me a mind that can understand and a humbling faith that allows me to see.
Thank you Lord, for dying on the cross to allow me to enter into your presence and inherit your infinite creation.
To God be the Glory!
Pastor Jay Merritt
Pastor Jay Merritt writes about God in every day observations.