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June 28, 2018

June 28, 2018

Dear Friends,
 
This is going to sound crazy.  But the Bible offers some very good reasons why we ought not spend time reading or studying or meditating on or memorizing the God’s word every day. 
 
That may sound like heresy, but stay with me.  The Bible says there are wrong reasons, wrong motivations for spending time each day in God’s word.  Let me give you three of them.
 
You should not study God’s word each day if your primary goal is to become smarter about theology.
 
I love theology.  I love digging deep into God’s word.  I think everyone should.
 
But if your goal in studying God’s word is to become smarter, 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 says you have the wrong purpose in mind.
 
“We know that ‘all of us possess knowledge,’ Paul writes. “This ‘knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up.  If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.  But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.”
 
In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees were the experts in theology.  They loved to argue over jots and tittles.  But they studied with the wrong motivation.
 
Dr. Wayne Grudem was aware of the danger of studying the Bible for the purpose of acquiring knowledge absent of love.  In his Systematic Theology, Dr. Grudem ends each chapter with a hymn.  He understood that knowledge that fails to lead us to worship is dangerous.
 
Here’s another reason not to read God’s word each day.  Don’t read the Bible to check it off your to do list, as one more task you have to accomplish today.
 
One blogger explains the problem inherent with turning Bible reading into a daily chore.  She writes:
 
Somewhere along the way, I picked up an unwritten checklist of sorts explaining what "good Christians" are supposed to do:
 
Pray.
Read your Bible.
Go to church.
Don’t cuss.
Be nice.
 
Being the rule-following girl I am, I subscribed to the good things on that list and waited with great expectations to receive the zap of contentment and happiness good Christian girls are supposed to exude.
 
But then I felt something was wrong with me. I still felt restless. I still reacted in anger. I still felt a bit hollow.
 
I was going through all the motions but didn’t feel connected to Jesus. 
 
I lived there for a long time until someone challenged me to stop simply reading my Bible because it was a thing on my Christian checklist. Instead, they challenged me to experience God. To know God.
 
If you are reading your Bible every day out of a sense of duty and not out of a sense of desire, you’re reading for the wrong reasons.  If you’re going through the motions and not growing closer to Jesus and anchoring your soul in His life giving truth, you’re missing the point.
 
And finally, don’t read your Bible every day because you think you will earn points with God. 
 
Or conversely, don’t fear that if you don’t read God’s word every day, you will be inviting God’s punishment.
 
Do you understand the gospel?  The good news of God’s grace?
 
Let me ask you a few questions.
 
1.  Do you think God loves His children who read their Bibles every day more than He loves His children who don’t?
 
2.  Do you think if you don’t read your Bible regularly, God you can expect God to chasten or punish you for your lack of diligence? 
 
3.  Do you think God has favorite children in His adopted family?
 
4.  If you put your Bible away today and never read it again for the rest of your life, do you think you would go to heaven when you die?
 
Those questions are a little tricky for us to answer, and here’s why.
 
Because it is normal for someone who knows and loves Jesus to want to spend time reading and studying and memorizing and meditating on God’s word. 
 
If we don’t want to spend time in God’s word, we should stop and examine our lives and see if we have really been converted in the first place.  Not spending time regularly in God’s word is like a person who is married and says “I love my spouse, I just don’t like talking to her or listening to her unless I have to.”
 
But be careful here.  Reading God’s word each day has nothing to do with earning God’s love or keeping Him happy with you.  God loves you not because of anything you do or don’t do.  God loves you because of what Jesus did on your behalf. 
 
So then, why should we read God’s word each day?
 
Psalm 1 says it very simply:  
Blessed is the man
                        who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
            nor stands in the way of sinners,
                        nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
            but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
                        and on his law he meditates day and night.
            He is like a tree
                        planted by streams of water
            that yields its fruit in its season,
                        and its leaf does not wither.
            In all that he does, he prospers.
 
Delighting in God’s word day and night brings blessing. 
 
What are the benefits?
 

  1. Time in God’s word brings stability to your life.  Rootedness.  Strength.  God’s word helps you stand strong in the face of pressure and adversity.  It keeps you from wavering or wobbling.

  2. Time in God’s word helps you develop proven character.

  3. Time in God’s word brings fruitfulness.  Usefulness.  Your life becomes a blessing and benefit to others.

  4. Time in God’s word brings shade.  In the heat of all we face in life, God’s word helps us to not wilt or wither.  And at the same time, your life provides help and rest and comfort for others.  When others are with you, they are refreshed.

 
Is that what you want your life to look like?  Stable.  Strong.  Fruitful.  Not wiling in the heat of the day.  And being a source of comfort to others 
 
Those are good reasons for you to anchor yourself daily in God’s word.  To meditate on it day and night.
 
How long has it been since you spent any time in God’s word outside of church or small group?
 
Oh how I love your law!  It is my mediation all the day! (Psalm 119:97)
 


No Kids Summer Fest on the 4th of July holiday.  The next time with the kids will be  Wednesday morning, July 11 from 9:00 – 11:00 AM.  If you’d like to help out or if you have any questions, contact Jen Gurney at jengiles1@yahoo.com. 
 
And don’t forget the school supplies for David O Dodd Elementary School.  Help your children find ways to be part of this project during the summer months.
 


Next Tuesday night is Fourth of July Eve.  And we plan to celebrate together with Redeemer Community Church Night with the Arkansas Travelers.  The Travs play the San Antonio Missions, and there are post game fireworks!   The first pitch happens at 6:10.  Our plan is to gather together at the ticket window at 5:30 so we can buy our tickets and sit together (in the shade, hopefully!).  Tickets are $12.  Invite some friends to join you and make plans for a night at the old ball game.
 


And start making plans now for Tuesday night, July 17 – the Redeemer Pizza and Pool party at the Pleasant Valley Swimming Pool.  We’ll have the pool all to ourselves from 6:30 – 8:30, and we’ll have pizza for everyone (you don’t have to swim to eat pizza).    It’s a great mid-summer get together. 
 


The Apostle Paul makes his closing argument about how the strong and weak are to get along with one another in the first half of Romans 15.  And that’s where we’ll be this Sunday as we gather for worship.
 
 
See you in church.
 
 
Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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