Monday, August 18, 2014

When All Else Fails....Read the Directions

     I hate reading directions.  Mostly this is because they are poorly translated from another language into English and make very little sense.  I do much better with someone showing me how to work a new gadget than I do with reading about it.  Of course, my dear husband has reminded me more than once to read the directions and I would not have trouble with the item I was trying to use.  However, there was one occasion when even he failed to read the directions carefully.
     I was out for an evening, and I left a frozen pizza for he and the boys to eat.  He set the oven correctly and thought he had followed all the directions.  When it came time to eat, the boys complained to their father about the doughiness of the pizza.  It was then that he realized he was supposed to have removed the cardboard from under the pizza before baking it.  No wonder it was doughy!  We joked about his incident afterwards but the story I am about to tell was not a laughing matter.
     Near east Tawas, Michigan, there is a small zoo housing exotic animals.  The park had ample signs warning people not to touch or get too close to the animals.  However, one woman, Renae Ferguson chose to ignore the signs and put her hand through a chain link fence to pet a male African Lion.  The lion bit off a good portion of her middle finger and now she is suing the park for not protecting people from the dangerous animals.  A guide had warned her along with all the signs, but she claims they did not actually physically stop her from doing what she did.  What part of failing to follow directions did this lady not get?  I used to laugh at some of the ridiculous directions I found printed on items like:  "Do not use the iron on clothing you are wearing".  Well...."duh" as they say, who would iron something they are currently wearing?  But obviously, there are people who would.  Hopefully this lawsuit will be thrown out since clearly there was plenty of warning signs.
     We may laugh when we read some of the foolish things that people do when they fail to read the directions, but are we any less foolish when we neglect reading the Bible?  In its pages are words of truth and instructions that lead to knowing the God of our creation.  It is written for us to guide us, teach us and lead us into righteous living.  According to II Timothy 3:16-17, the Word does this for us:  "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work."
God's Word does all this in the life of any believer who will take the time to mine its riches.  Do we want to be equipped for every good work?  Do we want to be competent when it comes to sharing truth with our neighbors?  Then, we need to read the Bible.
     In addition, the Bible also acts as an effective weapon in terms of spiritual warfare.  Hebrews 4:12 tells us:  "For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."  When we read the Word, we are changed by it for it is living.  It exposes our own faults and thoughts, so if there is any sin in us, we will be confronted by God's truth.  Likewise, it exposes the lies of the enemy as we discuss the truth of Christ with others.  What a powerful weapon in the hands of believers!
     Furthermore this Word of God will not pass away.  People have tried to stamp it out, burn it up and toss it in the garbage, but always this Word will stand.  In Matthew 24:35, Jesus said:  "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away."  Voltaire the French infidel, who died in 1778,  predicted that a hundred years from now the Bible and Christianity will be swept away.  Fifty years after his death, his home and printing press was used by the Geneva Bible Society to produce large quantities of Bibles.  He is gone, but God's Word stands just as the Lord said.
     Why is it that this precious resource is often the last thing that people turn to when they face difficulties and decisions?  It should be the first book we open on a daily basis.  In its pages, we will meet God for He reveals Himself to us.  The Bible is our source of spiritual nourishment.  However, the choice is ours.  Will we, like Renae Ferguson, choose to ignore all the warnings and march ahead with our plans?  If we do, we won't be able to sue God and tell Him that He never warned us or protected us.  It is all there in His Word.  Let us become students of the Bible that we might study to show ourselves approved by God and avoid the foolish actions that come from ignorance of what God requires of us.  Selah!

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