Archive for April, 2010


At a men’s Bible study that I attend, the leader often speaks of “unpacking” a particular passage of Scripture. He is talking about doing more than just reading it. Even more than just commenting on it. He understands that in order to truly use Scripture we must deal with it thoroughly. And so our group digs in to study the truth we read and find ways to apply it to our lives.

Perhaps you have shared the following experience after a trip out of town. You return home tired from travel, walk into your home, and set down your bags. For many of us, the first thing we want to do is clean up and sleep in our own beds. The last thing we want to do is deal with our luggage. That’s a task for a new day…or the next. If that next day turns into a few more, it could spell trouble. Soon you look into the closet for a particular suit, only to find that it has “disappeared.” It’s still yours, but it’s not available to be used until it is unpacked.

Perhaps that’s similar to our Bible. We own one (or more) and know that it is the most valuable tool for our lives. Yet it often sits unused on the shelf. When we need it the most, it seems inaccessible to us. Surely, God has something to say about our particular situation. However, because of neglect, we’re not quite sure what it is. How should we “unpack” the Scriptures?

– Consider it (Psa. 119:95)
– Delight in it (Psa. 1:2)
– Heed it (Psa. 119:9)
– Meditate on it (Psa. 119:97)
– Keep it (Psa. 119:167)
– Memorize it (Psa. 119:11)
– Love it (Psa. 119:97)
– Speak it (Psa. 119:172)

The psalmist’s list goes on and on. The apostle Paul reminds Timothy that the study of God’s Word would prepare him for the demands of this life.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

When we thoroughly study the Word of God, we know what He says about our circumstances. When we commit it to memory, we make Scripture accessible in our daily lives. With His Word we are prepared to face both opportunity and temptation…blessing and difficulty…peaceful days and storms. All of our decisions and actions will be affected by our interaction – or lack of it – with the Scriptures.

If your Bible has rested on a shelf too long (with only an occasional Sunday trip to church), “unpack” a verse today.

A Matter of Perspective

Recently, I was halfway through a two-hour flight out of Tampa when our aircraft experienced an “incident.” I sensed our slow descent and heard the captain announce that we would be heading to Atlanta, instead of our destination, because of an indicator in the cockpit. He assured us that the issue with the hydraulic system should not concern us as plenty of backup measures were in place. Immediately the skittish family seated behind me began asking the flight attendants, “What’s wrong? What’s happening?”

During our descent, storm clouds caused us to encounter a few bumps of turbulence. Each new question from the nervous family grew in volume and pitch. Finally, the grandfather, apparently not a frequent flyer, declared to all who would listen, “I don’t care what anyone else is doing. I’m not going back up in one of these things. I’ll rent a car and drive 13 hours.”

After a short delay we were off to our original destination in a new aircraft – with four fewer passengers. I realized then that the perspective and experience of the passengers affected how each viewed that flight. The bumps that barely distracted me from my reading, likely kept one man from ever boarding another jet.

A similar truth is evident in our daily lives. When the storms of this life bring turbulence, we may look around and question what will happen next. We wonder why life has to be so jarring. Many strain against uncomfortable circumstances and nervously take matters into their own hands.

However, believers can live confidently because of our perspective. While we are limited by our human senses, we trust that an eternal God with an infinite viewpoint holds us firmly. Our salvation is secure in the hands of the One who has redeemed us. Our needs are met by a heavenly Father who loves us and is rich beyond measure. Finally, our glorious future is assured by His unfailing promises.

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philip. 1:6

Experience is another wonderful tool for God’s children. The psalmist recalled that he had never seen God’s children forsaken or destitute (Psa. 37:25). We live by a faith that is reinforced by our experience. Take a few minutes and remember God’s faithfulness in your life. Follow that recollection with a prayer of thanksgiving. That healthy habit enables Christians to look at life with hope and assurance. Even when life seems unsettled, we are secure in God’s infinite care.

Real Hope for Real Life

Rituals with no substance. Liars in the pulpit. Loved ones lost forever. A meaningless faith. No forgiveness, No salvation. No hope – temporal or eternal. This is the grim picture that the Apostle Paul paints in 1 Corinthians 15 if there is no resurrection from the dead. In fact, there would be no reason to meet this Sunday, or any other, if we did not have a risen Savior.

In his work, “A Free Man’s Worship”, noted atheist Bertrand Russell gave a glimpse of life and death through the eyes of one who rejects the biblical record. He wrote, “The life of Man is a long march through the night, surrounded by invisible foes, tortured by weariness and pain, towards a goal that few can hope to reach, and where none may tarry long. One by one, as they march, our comrades vanish from our sight, seized by the silent orders of omnipotent Death.”

However, the Word of God boldly declares, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” 1 Cor. 15:20. The Lord conquered sin, death, and hell in His glorious, bodily resurrection from the dead. Our message is powerful. Our sins can be forgiven. Our eternity is secure. Our faith is sure.

Many that live all around us are discouraged and frustrated. They are grasping for anything that promises to provide a glimmer of hope, even if it is just temporary. As believers, we have a life-changing message of genuine hope in Jesus Christ. May we be diligent and generous in sharing our hope with those that are lost.