I was reading the introduction to a book on the Bible the other day, written by Francis Chan. Here is a portion of what he said:
For the past 35 years, I have been reading and studying the Bible daily. I honestly can’t imagine how life would have turned out if I neglected this habit. Each morning, I take time to seek God and remind myself of what is true and real.
It is my favorite time of the day.
His favorite time of the day.
I wonder, is that true for you?
So let’s make this a safe place for a moment, shall we? I’m betting that it’s not true for you. At least, not all the time. Maybe not most of the time. Heck, if we asked Francis Chan, he might even admit that it’s not his favorite time of the day, every day. I mean, some of us are hoping that at least half the days it can be our favorite time of the day.
Or it’s a goal, even as you read and internally respond to this — you desire for the time you read the Bible to be your favorite time of the day, but you just don’t know how to get there. Maybe you don’t even really know where to begin.
As a pastor, I feel like I’m supposed to say exactly what Chan has written, “Reading the Bible is my favorite time of the day.” And most days it is. Most days I love waking up, coffeeing up, praying up, and then gobbling up the Bible. But not every day. I’m just like you in that. I need reminding about why the Bible — God’s Whole Story — is an important part of my day, for every other part of my day. That the story is here for my pleasure and enjoyment. That I don’t have to feel guilt or shame tied to the pursuit of God’s Whole Story, rather, I want to delight in the Story.
It’s another reason we are beginning this adventure we’ve been telling you about. An eighteen month (or so) hike through God’s Whole Story. And we begin this Sunday exploring why you should read this story, as the pathway toward your delighting to do so. I believe God will bless you with being able to say, with Chan, “It is my favorite time of the day.”
Between now and Sunday, as a small first step in the journey, take a few minutes to watch a helpful video from the organization we are partnering with in this series, The Bible Project, as they show us that the Bible is, in fact, one big amazing Story told by God. And they introduce the app we are encouraging you to use, Read Scripture, and how it helps you read The Whole Story. (We’ll talk more about that on Sunday too!)
Day Thirty: Vistas of Wisdom
I am very near the end of this little writing experiment called “31 Proverbs.” While I’m unsure how helpful it has been to how ever many have read it, I know that the process of sitting down six days each week to read, ponder, and then ponder some more by plunking on a keyboard has helped me grow in my understanding of wisdom.
Day Thirty-Two: A Mother's Wisdom (part two)
Yesterday, we heard from what was likely King Solomon’s mother imparting worthy words of wisdom in the area of leadership. For the sayings of wisdom we find here are those “which his mother taught him” (Proverbs 31:1). And she now turns her attention to the search for a woman of virtue and noble character, suitable to be a wife and mother.
Day Twenty-Nine: Please—Quietly Hold Your Tongue
Anger. noun. “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.” (New Oxford American Dictionary) As I entered day twenty-nine of Proverbs this morning, and came to 29:11, it struck me that this book has quite a bit to say about anger, strife, wrath, quarreling, fights, and rage. It is a theme that Solomon keeps coming back to, probably because he knows that it is a theme woven through humanity and history. Sometimes the best way to see a theme is to pull on that string so all the wisdom he has offered comes together for our observation. The accumulation helps us feel the weight of it.
Day Twenty-Six: A Morning Conversation With King Solomon
A conversation that happened this morning as I came upon a visitor in our fireplace room….
Day Nineteen: God Chose Her, Not You
The doctrine of God’s rule and reign in and over all things comes crashing into the human conception of the self-made man. We are tempted to think we have so much to do with our happinesses. But the wisdom found from James speaks a wakefulness into the pondering of our circumstances—the good gifts we have come not from our own hands, but by the grace and providence of our heavenly Father. And the wisdom of Solomon makes clear—one of man’s greatest gifts is something only God can give, an understanding wife.
Day Seventeen: The Great Gain Of Godly Contentment
We live in a world where the temptation is constant to believe the amount of our wealth and possessions directly translates to our joy and happiness. The Bible, once again, confronts our culture and holds out another possibility. Namely, “better” does not imply “more,” “bigger,” or “expensive.” It suggests that the reason you still haven’t found what you are looking for is because you’ve been searching in all the wrong places. Wisdom opens our eyes and hearts to deeper wells of contentment.
Day Fifteen: I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me
I always feel like somebody's watching me. And I have no privacy. Woh, I always feel like somebody's watching me. Tell me is it just a dream? So sang Rockwell in the dawning of my high school years back in 1984. All the cool kids were singing it at the time, and its the tune that sprang to mind when I read this similar sentiment this morning: Yahweh is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3, New Living Translation)
Day Fourteen: Death By Living
For those of us desirous to live a good life, we’ve known since the very beginning of this book that it begins with a healthy awe, reverence, and trembling before the God of the universe whose name is Yahweh (Proverbs 1:7). And here we are again reminded that this humble posture before the Holy One is a fountain overflowing with life.