where love is alive 

Recently I had the opportunity to run a road race on the Chickamauga Battlefield.  The forecast for that morning was for rain and potentially heavy rain; however, it was going to be warm.  So, as I always do, the night before a race I made my decisions on what to wear, and included a black trash bag to take with me.  This practice of taking a trash bag is not uncommon for runners, especially on either cold or wet mornings.  The idea is to put the trash bag over yourself and poke your head and arms through so that you can move freely, all while staying dry and warm.  The plastic bag can be easily torn off at any time and discarded at the aide stations along the course.  As I got to the race, it wasn’t raining so I took the bag with me as I checked in and did my stretching.  We moved along to the starting line and I had my bag firmly in my right hand, with now only a gentle drizzle falling on me.  The race started without a hitch and we were off.  I didn’t have my phone with me, which I usually carry in my right hand when I run, so it felt natural to be holding my beloved trash bag in that hand.  About mile one I realized that the gentle drizzle was starting to make my clothes wet, and by mile three I was sloppy wet- all the while still holding this fantastic black trash bag in my hand.  By that point it occurred to me that even if a downpour came, which it never did, I was already so wet it wouldn’t matter!  So I deposited my well thought out plan of a trash bag at the next aide station about mile four and went on my merry way, never having put it on, and yet dripping wet as if I had just jumped in a swimming pool with all my clothes on!

I don’t think our lives are too dissimilar to my story.  There are so many days of my life that I have great intentions to read and study my Bible.  I have intentions to dig into it, and have meaningful conversations about it throughout my day.  I see it and think to myself, I need to spend some time in God’s Word today.  I get notifications on my phone from the YouVersion app to make sure I read my Bible for the day, or at minimum a little devotional the app may be nudging me toward.  I have all these great plans and at the end of the day I lay my head on the pillow and as I replay my day in my head I realize I never got around to having my quiet time with God.  I metaphorically find myself soaking wet in the rain with a perfectly good raincoat/trash bag in my hand not being used.

Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “All scripture is God-breathed.”  I literally have God’s Word, or his breath at my fingertips.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 4:4 that “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  When I apply both of these verses to my life I quickly realize that I need God’s Word in my life more than I need anything else.  I can make it a few days without food and water but God’s Word is more important than those two things.  I need the Bible to be in every corner of my life, and this isn’t remotely possible unless I am cramming it into my life every chance I get!

So I ask you this question: do you struggle to read the Word somedays like I do?  If so, I encourage you to do what you must to make it a daily habit.  Maybe you can set a reminder on your phone, or ask someone to send you a text every day to get you going.  Another idea would be to set your Bible in a location that you would see it first thing in the morning each day.  For my house that would be the coffee pot!  Someone might even be willing to get a talking parrot to tell you to read God’s Word today!  Wouldn’t that be great!  May we all find ourselves reading God’s Word more intentionally moving forward- it is the very breath of God!

-Jason

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