A couple of years after making the decision to trust and follow Christ, I had the opportunity to be a “summer missionary”. I spent 10 weeks of my summer serving Christ through a mission board. Prior to this I had been dating the girl who has now been my wife for nearly 36 years. She too was a “summer missionary” approximately 2000 miles away from me that summer. We were already fairly serious about each other and wrote letters back and forth almost every day for 10 weeks. I know I’m dating myself, but this was before computers and cell phones were available. Letter writing was still in vogue and I didn’t have regular access to a telephone nor the money to make long distance calls. So, we wrote letters.
I remember the small room behind a small church where I was housed for the summer. It was a fairly long walk to the oversized mailbox in front of the church. Each day, I’d make the trip down a sandy dirt lane to that mailbox with eager anticipation of a letter from Janet. Almost every day, I’d get a letter from her. However, I was also shocked to find that junk mail could follow you thousands of miles and I’d have a piece of junk mail from time to time. When I received a letter from Janet and a piece of junk mail, it was a no brainer. I didn’t even give the junk mail a second glance. Instead, I’d rip open the letter from Janet right there at the mailbox and begin reading. I read and re-read her letters over and over that summer. Why? Because I loved the author of those letters and I knew the author loved me.
Here’s what’s interesting in our culture; including church culture. God has sent us the most incredible love letter ever written in the form of the Scripture, but we often treat it more like junk mail. Years ago when I made the decision to trust and follow Christ I was challenged to dig into the Scripture, and am so thankful I did. I developed a growing hunger for the Scripture which continues to this day. I was a Student Pastor for 15 years, and the students that went through the Student Ministries entrusted to me will tell you I was always asking them about their time alone (their Quiet Time) with God in the Scripture and how they were applying what they learned.
The more I fill my heart, mind and life with truth from God’s Word – the greater clarity I have in making decisions. I haven’t arrived, and make plenty of mistakes, but when I’m focused on the truth of God’s Word it’s not difficult to know the wise thing to do.
One of the best things I’ve done this year is start the year using Professor Horner’s Bible Reading System. This means I usually read 10 chapters from various passages in the Old & New Testaments each day. It’s been amazing how this has impacted my thinking and faith. I’m not suggesting you use Professor Horner’s system, but I am suggesting that you spend some time every day in the Scripture and have system or plan for reading. If you don’t have or use a Bible Reading Plan there are many available in the You Version of the Bible for your smart phone.
As I was writing this, here are a few verses that came to mind about the Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Psalm 119:160, Psalm 119:9-11, Psalm 1:1-3, Joshua 1:8, Hebrews 4:12, & James 1:22.
There are times I forget, but most of the time I remember the Scripture is God’s love letter to me; I know the Author loves me and I love the Author. So here’s a simple question: in your day to day experience do you look at God’s Word as a love letter written with you in mind or more as a piece of junk mail?