Friday, February 23, 2018

Living the Bible

Chuckle: "A bore talks about himself; a gossip talks about others; and a brilliant conversationalist talks about you."
Good Quote: "Some students drink at the fountain of knowledge -- others just gargle." --Unknown

"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry . . . . Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. . . . The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it -- he will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:19, 22, 25).
Today, there is no shortage of Bibles -- they are everywhere - in all sizes, shapes, and colors. The Bible is a perennial best seller.  Sadly, however, many don't even know the purpose of the Bible which is to cause each of us to live out what it says. The printed words come alive within us by the power of the Holy Spirit and change our lives. We must read, study, memorize, and meditate on it, but the purpose of all that is to change our lives. It's not if we know Biblical content, but does it leads us to faith in Jesus Christ and produce righteous lives. Let's think about how we should do the Bible.
First, before we can do what the Bible says, we must hear and listen to it. According to Webster, to hear is "to receive sound through the ears." To listen is "to pay attention in order to hear." We can have sound waves stimulate our eardrums without listening with the intent to learn and understand. Our spiritual ears should listen as God speaks to us through reading the Word, listening to preaching and teaching, spending time in meditation, and being persistent in prayer. Hearing is the starting point. Here are four ways to help you hear and listen to the Biblical message.
Pay attention: "Be quick to hear." Focus on what we're hearing. In this electronic information age, our attention spans are short. With TV and computer images changing every few seconds, we are not trained to listen attentively for extended periods. Have you been conversing with someone - and say to yourself: "when will they ever hush so I can talk." We think ahead to what we want to say and are not really listening to the other person. Some won't even let you finish - some finish your sentences for you. We must learn to concentrate on listening. Say to the Lord right now: "Lord, I'm going to concentrate on your word, and if you want to say something to me, I'm listening."
Stop talking: If we are to learn to listen, we must just shut-up. James says "be slow to speak." If we're talking, we aren't listening and aren't learning very much. I must make time to listen to God and others as they teach me. If I didn't, what I write here would be worthless. The same applies to you if you are a teacher, or a parent teaching your children. Even our prayers can become all talk and no listening. When you pray, how about taking a few minutes to just listen to God. Socrates was teaching someone to be an orator who talked all the time. He said: "my price is double because I must teach you to hold your tongue before I can teach you to use your tongue."
Control our anger: James says: "be slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." You have a hard time listening if you are angry, bitter, or resentful. These attitudes set barrier between us and God.
Purify our lives: James is very pointed here: (vs. 21) "Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent." The bible says: "Sin separates us from our God." To hear God, we must let him clean up our lives. Why am I so miserable? Why am I not enjoying life? Sin separates us from God and destroys all the joys of fellowship with Him. And if we have filthy lives, we can't hear God. Just take that life off and throw it away, like a dirty shirt. The old hymn: "nothing between my soul and the Savior, none of this world's elusive dreams." We often rationalize about our sins not being really that bad -- a minor thing. We can keep our pet sins - but if we do, we won't hear God clearly.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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