It's early. The fireplace is on in the quiet of this October morning. I feel the warmth of the fire as I recline in my old Lazi-Boy and glance at the outside drizzle falling on the shrubs. As I pull the big handle to extend the foot-rest, it creaks a bit with age and yet-again Lizzie the Wonderdog thinks I extended it for her. As if on cue she leaps up to take her usual place snuggling against my now extended legs. My fresh breakfast-blend is steaming and after a few sips I rest the large cup on the adjacent window sill. I page around for my passage marker in my now decades-long journey of discipleship & study commitment.
This is the most favorite time in my routine when I can pause to hear God's voice above all the noise in my life. Soon the phone will ring and the emails will buzz as busyness sets in, but for now my thoughts soon drift off to long-ago times as vivid accounts of another bible adventure unfold under guidance from the Living God. Time seems to stand still as I press in. I am humbled at how I clearly I can hear his voice and so firmly feel his hand. I love to spot the principles and patterns in scripture as I see evidence of God's activity in the lives of great people from long ago that God has used mightily. We can often see failures as well, when God's principles have been violated. I can grow wise learning from these glaring mistakes. God wants to change my character.
Patterns like ....Faithfulness brings reward; Obedience leads to Blessing; Prophecy first...then always the Fulfillment. Faith grows from reading the Word, believing and trusting; God working from small to BIG; inside to outside. He teaches that usually Blessing flows from the older to the younger; Sin entangles while Righteousness exalts; Forgiveness frees; Praise brings his Presence, Pride turns Him away; How that Israel is the "apple of His Eye". Studying the principles in scripture has enriched my life tremendously as I lead a personal quest to be Mighty through God's Spirit. Little by little, precept by precept, God begins to work on my character, revealing my pride and selfishness. The historic Jesus becomes my closest friend! It has been quite a ride!
I've tried a number of approaches through the years to my bible-study. The through-the-year; the here and there; the topical; the megachurch-pastor-led; the verse-of-the-day and a variety of others. While all have merit, what continues to be my favorite, is when I consume larger consecutive passages and take the time to dig-in. That could mean a chapter or a few verses, but more than likely a whole book in a sitting, because reading in context has considerably more to offer. Not only because you get the end of the story without pausing a day, but so often, it's difficult to put it away as God begins to speak into my life.
The pen comes out to underline, a commentator elaborates, the yellow highlighter marks something fresh. But you just have to begin to read it yourself to see what I mean!
I'm hoping you enjoy the ANVIL Newsletter as we try to be relevant to our world and reflect the Men of Issachar who "understood the times" they were living in.