Sunday, April 28, 2013

Reading the Bible everyday

There are many good reasons to read the Bible everyday and many desirable fruits that come from reading God's Word everyday. Since I'm reading through the Bible this year for the first time in many years, I have new appreciation for these good reasons and desirable fruits.

One pastor's wife I know refuses to counsel anyone who isn't reading her Bible everyday. Her experience taught her that a great majority of the problems that other women want to talk over with her either disappear or are effectively handled when the Bible is read everyday. I have found this principle true in my own life. My days of being a "basket case" have been nearly eliminated this year even in the face of plenty of stress and difficulties!

We don't need any help or instruction to sin. We know how to get angry, envy, become bitter, exact vengeance, worry, be selfish, complain, fall into sloth, let fear paralyze us, eat too much, etc. without how-to lessons! We are natural sinners by nature, our fallen sinful nature. When God's gift of new life in Christ opens our eyes to the supernatural ways of God, we have a whole new set of ways of living to learn. We are not by nature patient, kind, forgiving, content or faithful. Those are His Ways that we have to learn and practice.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He IS the Word of God! He came to reveal the ways of His Father to us, and all of this Way of Truth has been written in the Bible for us to read, know and live by.

But as I was reminded this week, we forget 90% of what we read! This fact is a huge reason to stay in God's Word daily. Not only are we naturally inclined toward sinful ways instead of righteous ones, we also forget almost everything we read about His righteous, Kingdom of God ways!

Because of this forgetfulness, we have an inclination to continually reinvent God in our minds, casting Him in the image of what we think He is or what we think we need. The only way to correct this deceptive tendency is to keep putting His truth in everyday. Our minds need to be washed daily.

For the most part, putting on our spiritual armor so we can withstand the subtle attacks of the devil  consists of continually being bathed in the Truth. If we fail to read His Truth in His Word everyday, we become sitting ducks for our enemy. The devil feeds our minds lies all the time. We start to believe them and quickly fall into unbelief in God if we fail to stay washed with His Word of Truth.

His word is our necessary food. The Word of God is our spiritual nourishment. It doesn't just protect, cleanse and train us, it grows us up into the fulness of Christ. We are conformed to His image by His Word of Truth administered by His Spirit to our souls. How can we afford to miss a day of this nourishment?

He guides, comforts, strengthens, encourages and speaks to us personally through His Word. Where would I be without the Psalms? David teaches me to speak to my soul, to "Bless the Lord, O my soul," instead of listening to all my fears and worrisome thoughts. If I miss filling myself with His Word, I risk being vulnerable when I could have been fortified. My emotions have a greater chance of getting the upper hand when I miss reading His Word to me.

One of the most welcome fruits of my staying faithful in God's Word each day is a saner, kinder me. When I have taken time to feed upon His words, I have the good sense to restrain my tongue from uttering words that would not edify those who hear them. I can overcome by His Word-- what a blessing! I don't let the devil's lies beat me up. I rest in His Truth. Trials and temptations don't derail me nearly as often as when I face my day without being washed in His Truth.

My reading program has me reading in four different places in the Bible each day and I'm continually amazed by how something I notice in one place will be echoed in another. The whole Bible is His Word to me!

My goal is heaven. This world is not my home. His Word prepares me to live with Him forever in a realm very foreign to this world system even as it equips me to live in this world as His ambassador of love. I can't afford to not stay in very close communication with Him! How blessed we are to have His word fill us each day!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The guest room is shaping up!

When we discovered our banjo picking buddy, Lowell, from the weekly bluegrass jams has his family in Minnesota, we invited him over on a Saturday to help out in exchange for a good meal and a good jam! Lowell's extra hands made it possible to go ahead with changing out the window in the guest room right after we'd gotten everything out and before painting and flooring it. It was nice to able to make and clean up that dusty mess before the rest was finished!

Now, the walls & ceiling are painted pale yellow, the hickory flooring is all laid and the first coat of stain has been applied to the wooden double-hung window pair. We have alder enough for the window trim but the floor trim for this room and the rest of the house will have to wait for another trip to Seattle. The furnishings are arranged in a whole new way since the extra clothing rod is gone so the room has a lighter, spacier feel than previously. My sewing machine, cutting table and fabric cabinet are still in there, but not my desk, books or filing cabinet.

It's been a nice change to stop with major construction for a while, changing gears into finishing up some places and decorating the rooms that have new wood floors. Dennis found a great new sofa at an estate sale store price to go in our living room-- looks great with one of the new rugs. We had originally planned to get Arthur's room refloored now too, but since it is just 3 weeks till we go to NYC, we decided to do his room and ours later in the summer. That way we'll be able to get the windows done in each room first, like we did with the guest room.

We've been going through a major transition at Artmil with two staff members leaving and one new one coming on at the start of April. I've picked up a few more responsibilities and different hours, while Dennis and ChrisB and Andy are dividing most of the tasks Kathy used to do. Christian handed off the web work to Derek, who is also able to do regular graphic design work.