Monday, August 17, 2009

Missing my Bible

Helllloooooo world. I'm back. It has been a good, busy summer. I have remained silent for longer than usual, but not for some of the typical reasons (aka, "spiritually dry"). Well, some of the lull is a result of busyness, but much of it was a proactive decision to just "sit" on some things for a bit. Simply put, I didn't want to post "just because". I think in the last few months I caught myself saying, "Well, I have to post something...", and as a result just wrote things that may not have had time to peculate. Oh, nothing scandalous or bad, just..."there"...

Well, I'm back. I won't promise how much of often, but I am ready to get back into my typical "school year routine" in the morning, which usually includes some permutation of coffee/classical-jazz-ambient-celtic music to inspire (aka "autumn morning")/reading/prayer/pondering/writing. I make efforts to minimize TV watching, and to, of course, let Jackson sleep (haha).

One thing is lacking from that routine as I begin again, however. My bible. You see, I think I left it on our junior high mission trip. Oh sure, I think I can call the place I left it and retrieve it fairly easily...but I keep forgetting for some reason. I have been trying to keep up with my spiritual feeding through books, listening to sermons via podcast, etc., but I noticed one thing last year that, for some reason in all the years of me following Jesus, I neglected to appreciate as much as I should.

Spending real, honest, prayerful time in the scriptures.

I mean, sure, I read it at times, and pondered many other times (although usually as a result of conversation, or a message, etc.), but had sadly struggled in all my years to make a true conscious point to study God's word as a vital part of my life. I mean, I would often try, using all kinds of tools, assists, study aids, devotional books, and plans, but they would always start off strong, then a few weeks later become something I just "did" and would not ponder. And before you knew it (usually after a month or so), I would skip a couple days and whammo, there goes my scripture time. And honestly, I would end up rationalizing and say something like, "Oh well, I still believe it all. I get to church a lot and have many deep, spiritual conversations, so I will be ok." And generally, I was. But this last year or so, I finally felt compelled to say, "Enough!" to all the excuses. I was tired of reading get-to-know-you surveys from others that seemed to honestly list "the Bible" as one's favorite book...when I would rather read sci fi or war novels or epic stories of elves and hobbits and knights.

So, I prayed for God to grant me the desire to truly dive into his divine revelation. And, he did!

So now, as I embark on another "school year" (not for me, but for my family, as my wife works at a school and my son prepares for his last year of pre-K), I am seeking God's help in re-igniting that passion. But, as I said, my Bible of choice is AWOL. Sure, there are others around, and if all else fails, I can hit up a store and get another one, but for those who have made it a point to dive into scripture on a personal level, it is hard to leave your "trusted, beat-up, marked-up" bible... So I will call the place I left it today...(ask me to see if I did!)

Charles Spurgeon, a famous preacher from the 1800s, said, "I bible that is in shambles is usually owned by someone whose life is not" (or, something like that...forgive me if the quote is not 100%). Prayerfully, I hope that is true of me, as my AWOL Bible is pretty marked up and "not pretty". Also, while exercising the other day and listening to one of the sermons I podcast, the pastor was talking on perseverance out of 2 Peter. He said (and not in an arrogant way) that ever since he met Christ at age 19, he had never backslid. He had sinned, sure, but never once walked away from the Lord, denied Christ, anything like that. His wife, on the other hand, had a time in her life (before they met) where she felt like she did wander away. He struggled to understand how she could do that once a believer, and she likewise wondered how he could not. So, in their conversation, he asked his wife, "What was the one thing missing that assisted in you straying from God?" He answer? She wasn't in her bible.

My response? I can see that. The bible itself isn't magic, but the Holy Spirit speaks through the words. We are encouraged, challenged, convicted through God's revelation to us humans. But, if we don't spend time in it, and I mean way more than just checking-off that we "read our bible today", well, I can completely see how we open up our hearts to straying, or at least, a "meh" attitude toward the things of God...

Have I kept Jesus on my mind? Oh, sure. I am grateful that in this past couple weeks of "little/no bible", God has kept a desire in my heart to not become "meh" through the podcasts and the reading of books (I am currently re-visiting "Don't Waste Your Life" by Piper, discussing it with a college student I know, and also attempting to read one of the Christian "fathers", Augustine...). But, I miss my bible. I know that nothing I can read will compare...

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