Love letters

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Imagine this scenario:

You pick up your mail, like usual. As you sift through the endless amount of bills, credit card offers, sales flyers and more junk mail, you see a long white envelope with an actual stamp on it. You pull it from the stack and realize it is a letter from a dear friend you haven’t heard from in years! You pull into the driveway and read the letter before you even put the car in park!

Or, how about this one:

Ladies, you’re being courted (or dating as is said now, though the two are not interchangeable), and your betrothed presents you with a handwritten letter. The letter tells you about the way his life was before you met. It tells you about how great of a love he has for you and talks of future plans and dreams. And deep within, in the middle of the letter, is a wonderful surprise – a marriage proposal. This is definitely a letter you will read again just before you walk down the aisle. In short, it is a letter you will read over and over again, breathing in each and every word as if your very life depended on it.

Try this one:

You receive a poetic love letter from your spouse. The letter is very long, and handwritten, with all types of prose. It begins with the story of your lives together. It tells of the good times, and the bad. There are pages that talk of nothing but hardship, and other pages that are full of blessed memories. There are poems and beautiful language. You read this letter everyday, especially since your spouse is now deceased. You treasure every single word, and you can almost say the entire thing by heart. It is, by far, your most valued possession.

Now, imagine this one:

Imagine getting any of those letters, and only taking it out once a week to read one or two sentences. Imagine only reading the parts that are happy, and not ever bothering with the parts that are hard to understand.

Instead of reading it all, you pick out little bits of information here and there, but you miss the big picture since you never read the whole thing. But, after all, you don’t have time to sit and read the whole thing. Dishes must be washed, laundry folded, errands run, and emails to check. So you miss out on the wonderful words and sweet poetry your friend or loved one put together, specifically for you.

Are you wondering where I’m going with this? It’s been said that the Bible is God’s love letter to us. And it struck me tonight that if it is indeed a love letter – or a letter at all – we have ignored it unopened on the desk corner for far too long. Unlike the long-lost friend’s letter, or the letter from our beloved husband or wife, we open it and read only a verse or two once a week. And we wonder in the meantime why there are days when we just don’t understand what’s going on. There are days when nothing makes sense, and when we ask God to explain it, we wonder why He doesn’t speak to us.

The truth is, He does speak to us still, and has given us something that the early church would have gladly died for – a book that contains His words and thoughts. We have in our hands something of such great value that people die for it everyday. And we leave ours all too often on a shelf or coffee table to gather dust.

Why don’t we give our Bible the same attention and care we give those love letters? After reading those love letters, we can quote so much of it word-for-word, and yet we have a hard time remembering much more than a few scriptures, and then may only know the jist of it. Knowing its address (the book: chapter and verse) is another thing.

So my challenge is this: treat your Bible and the word of God as 1000 times more important than any other love letter you could ever receive. Read it every single day. Read it all the way through (not all at once, of course!) – and then do it again. Carry it with you when you travel. When you feel worried, scared, happy, sad, or blessed, read it. Memorize it – hide its words in your heart.

Do that, and its guaranteed, when the hard times come, you’ll have a direct line to God – His written word. And you’ll have a much easier time of knowing how to handle everything that comes your way.

Spend time in His word today – and be blessed.

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When you look back

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It’s not plagiarism if I give credit:

Last night at Bible study, a wonderful lady in our class said this:

“I can’t see what God is doing while He’s doing it.  It’s when I look back that I can see what He did.”

How true that is.  How often do we pray and pray, thinking that nothing is happening, when all of a sudden it becomes apparent that God has indeed been very busy?

There are so many times that I get myself all worked up over something, something that may not have even happened yet, and when I look back, I can see that God was there all along.

Or what about the times when you are really struggling?  You know, the storms of life when every ounce of faith you have is being tested and tried and stretched.  Personally, its often just after one of those times that I can look back, and see beyond the shadow of a doubt, what God was doing.

And He always does it bigger and better, and more thoroughly  than I could have imagined.  And often, its at the end of those storms when I learn the greatest lessons.  The ones that bring me closer to my Savior than ever before.

The truth is, we humans need a rest – once every 24 hours.  God, however, doesn’t sleep.  In our finite minds we cannot really comprehend that fact.  He never stops working;  He never forwards incoming prayers to an answering service.  His office hours are Beginning – End, Eternity – Eternity.  No holidays, no vacations, and certainly no retirement! 

So, whatever storm you’re passing through – whether its a little sprinkle or a downpour, remember to keep looking up.  Even if you can’t see Him, He’s there and He’s working.  And when the storm is over, the clouds part and the sun is shining again, you’ll be able to look back at where you’ve been, and see the wonderful things He has done.