495) Read the Instructions

     It is the night before Christmas, 2:00 in the morning and you are tired.  But you are still up, sitting by the Christmas tree, trying to figure out how to assemble the Barbie and Ken Deluxe Doll House.  Your daughter has been asking for that for weeks, and in just a few hours she’ll be awake.  And she will be all excited and you are excited for her.  You are anxious to see the look on her face when there it is, what she always wanted, her very own Barbie and Ken Deluxe Doll House.  But you know that it would not be at all exciting for her to see what is there on the floor now– just a pile of parts and pieces.  You had no idea that when it said ‘some assembly required’ that the assembly would be so difficult.  And now, there you sit.  And what is it has your full, undivided attention and focus?  It is that little book called the assembly manual.  You should have looked at the instructions first, of course, and you didn’t.  But you are looking now.  With the greatest care and devotion and attention you are reading intensely every line and every word.  You don’t want to miss a thing.  You have to get it just right, or you will not be ready in time.
     That is how you should read the Bible.  That little illustration is gives an accurate portrayal of all of life.  There are some things in life that you just have to know in order to put it all together, and all that information is found in one book.  You have only a limited amount of time.  There is a deadline fast approaching, and by then you must be ready.  The Bible tells you how to be ready.  You should want to know what is in that book.  The stakes are much higher than a Barbie and Ken Deluxe Doll House on Christmas Day.  What you know and believe, or don’t know and don’t believe, will have eternal consequences.  Your reading of the Bible should be just as intense and careful as a doll house assembly manual.  Does your Bible get such careful attention?
    It is very easy to make people feel guilty about not reading Bible.  Everyone knows they should read it, but very few do with any kind of depth or consistency.  So it is easy to point to what is wrong.   What is not as easy is providing a way to help someone read that big, often difficult book.  There are many ways to do that.  These EmailMeditations provide just one simple way.  Reading these daily meditations gives you the opportunity to read at least three Bible verses each day in the context of a devotional reading and prayer.  This is only a minimal amount of attention to give so important a book, but it is more attention than it receives from most people, and perhaps more than you would otherwise be giving to the Bible.  Perhaps not every day’s devotional reading will appeal to you, but you will at least read a little bit of God’s Word each day, and that will remind you of eternity, and, keep you closer to that God who holds you eternal destiny in his hands.
 Psalm 119:104-105  —  I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.  Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
2 Timothy 3:13-17  —   …Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
John 20:30-31  —  Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
1 John 5:13  —  I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
 Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:  Grant us to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.
Book of Common Prayer
O Lord God, Heavenly Father, we beseech thee so to guide us by thy Holy Spirit, that we hear and receive thy Holy Word with our whole heart, in order that through thy Word we may learn to place all our trust and hope in Jesus; and following him, be led safely through all evil, until by thy grace, we come to everlasting life; through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord.  Amen.
United Lutheran Church Hymnal, 1917