Sunday, April 22, 2012

Neither Watchmaker nor Puppeteer: God and Life


Between the theological fallacies of deism, the belief that God created the world but has been uninvolved with mankind since, and fatalism, the belief that every minute detail of every action or occurrence happens by the express and specific will of God, there must exist the balanced truth concerning the relationship between the sovereignty of God, the free will of man, and chance. The existence of all three is shown in scripture:

Dan 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

(Also see Pro 21:1 and Gen 6:13)

Gen 13:10-11 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.

(Also see Ex 32:1)

Ecc 9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

(Also see Deu 22:6 and Luke 10:31)

The way these concepts fit together in different aspects of life and salvation is complex and can vary depending upon what aspect of each is under consideration. Therefore, to better explain this four dimensional puzzle, a natural model will be constructed to metaphorically present truth. The aspect of these concepts in focus will be the everyday events, actions, and interactions in the lives of the children of God (1 John 5:2). The aspect of eternal salvation will not be considered. The following statements are assumed to be true in constructing this model:

· The Bible is 100% accurate and contains no contradictions (Ps 12:6).

· There is a subset of the human race that God loves and that will enter heaven upon their death (John 17:9). An individual in this subset will be referred to as “child of God.”

· God is omniscient (Ps 139).

· God does not cause any man to sin (James 1:13).

God’s sovereignty

God’s power cannot be denied. It is seen in the very first chapter of the Bible in His creation of the world. Some take this power in conjunction with God’s omniscience to argue that nothing can happen unless God before ordained and willed it to happen. They reason that any event not predestined would occur outside or contrary to the will of God so therefore must not be possible. This belief, however, quickly extrapolates to God also ordaining Adam’s fall and causing every lie, theft, or genocide in man’s bloody history. Thus, it can be refuted by simple reasoning and the following verse:

Jer 32:35 And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

(Also see Jer 19:5)

God can be seen offering choice to man in temporal events throughout the Bible.

2 Kings 20:9 And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?

(Also see 1 Kings 3:5,10-14)

It cannot be said, however that God consistently defers to the will of man. He is righteous, just, and has the authority and power to direct the course of men’s lives.

Pro 21:1 The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Gen 6:13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

Will of man

The statement “God does not cause any man to sin” implies that anytime someone does sin that they committed it of their own will, e.g., God did not cause David to commit the sins of adultery and murder. In addition to actions contrary to God’s law, the Bible also gives examples of men making choices not pertaining to sin.

Gen 2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

The wording of the above verse implies that Adam acted independently in his choice of animal names.


If the Bible is 100% accurate, the mere mention of chance in the scripture is sufficient evidence to its existence. However, its nature and extensiveness is open to question. It is impossible to say with 100% certainty that an event is chance. Due to man’s finite nature, the seemingly most unobtrusive event may actually be a key element to a divine plan.

Gen 37:28 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

What seemed to be a random intersection of paths, is later shown to be vital for the preservation of Jacob and his family. However, God’s power to have brought about salvation or blessings through means other than those recorded in scripture cannot be denied (Esther 4:14). Perhaps “chance,” as it is commonly thought of, is not normally a self existing phenomenon but rather is a result of actions and events initiated by the will of man (Luke 10:31).

God’s direction in the lives of His children

The final puzzle piece that must be presented before a model is constructed is the concept of God’s intervention and direction in the lives of His people. This truth is found throughout the Bible and is a continuation of the examination of God’s sovereignty.

2 Cor 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:

Jer 29:10-11 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Psa 139:9-10 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

For God’s children, life is neither a game of natural reasoning nor a game of dice. Both may play a role in daily interactions, but the underlying factor is God’s sovereignty and His love for his people.


The model to be presented is that of a particle suspended in fluid flowing through a pipe. A schematic is shown in Figure 1.

The different features of the schematic and what they represent are as follows:

1. The start of the pipe = the birth of a child of God.

2. The walls of the pipe = the limits of where the child may find themselves at a particular time in their life (Job 1:10). The bounds of the wall cannot be seen by the child (Gen 42:4).

3. A constriction in the pipe = periods in the child’s life where God is very specifically directing them towards some incident, intersection, or action that will be for their benefit and His glory (Acts 13:36).

4. The particle = the child at a particular time in his or her life.

5. The area immediately downstream = the near future that the child can see with some degree of certainty (1 Cor 4:19), e.g., “It will probably rain today.”

6. External area = theoretically possible events that the child can envision but are actually outside the limits of the pipe, e.g., Joseph being killed in the Egyptian prison.

7. An expansion in the pipe = areas where the child has more self-determination in their lives than at other times and where chance occurrences and interactions may happen more frequently and have greater effect at altering the path of the particle.

8. System boundary = the limits of possible events and interaction (excluding miracles). For example, the child suddenly becoming immune to fire would in most cases be outside the system boundary (Dan 3:25).

9. End of the pipe = the death of the child.

The figure is purely for representational purposes and is not claimed to be to scale in length or width of sections. The model needs to also be seen from two other viewpoints: that of the child and that of God – seen in Figure 2 and Figure 3, respectively.

At a given point in time, a child of God cannot fully see the guards and bounds God has placed about them (noted by dashed pipe walls). God, however, is from everlasting to everlasting and is not restricted by the passage of time as humans are. He sees the complete path from beginning to end. However, contrary to the argument of the fatalist, His seeing the totality of the child’s life does not imply that He minutely directed every action, word, or event done or experienced by the child. The opposite belief is just as erroneous. God is a God of detail; the expanse and intricacy of the creation shouts that truth from the largest supernova to the smallest electron. He is omnipotent and nothing happens that He did not cause or allow to happen; but allowance cannot be equated with causation.

Job 1:9-12 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

God did not cause Satan to desire harm toward Job. That desire sprang naturally from who Satan is. God did, however, remove some of the protection He had set about Job which allowed Satan to do what by nature he wanted to do.

The children of God are instructed in scripture to seek God’s will through prayer (Matt 9:38). They are instructed to live righteous lives and to repent and seek forgiveness when they sin (1 John 2:1). Also in scripture, God has promised certain things to his children that He will certainly bring to fruition (Rom 4:21, Titus 1:2). The model laid out above attempts to join seemingly contradictory concepts into a logical and harmonious arrangement that is supported by the Bible. The child of God must be proactive throughout his life in seeking to live a righteous life before his LORD but can have peace in the knowledge that he is beloved of a sovereign God who actively protects and blesses those whom He loves.

Rom 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

All verses and reference taken from the authorized King James Version.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

God and Engineering Part 2: Water Drops

Last week I was thinking about the importance of “rightly dividing the word of truth” and how different interpretation of certain scriptures (either in or out of context of the rest of the bible) can lead to the differences of beliefs that exist among different denominations of Christianity. This casued me the think on how important broad scripture reading is; in that it prevents us from taking a scripture and using it to defend something we want to believe, but something it can’t be teaching when examined through the light of the rest of scripture. Then my engineering mind began to form an analogy between this truth and the surface tension of water droplets which lead to an analogy of rubber puzzle pieces - hopefully it’ll make sense by the end.

Before we have a discussion on the importance of carefully considering scripture, we must agree that scripture is important and that it is word of God for his people regardless of age, sex, social station, time, or culture. Some may argue that relying on the bible’s claims that it’s the word of God to believe that the bible is the word of God is a circular argument. However, my friend John made a good point yesterday: “If you assume that you have to go outside the bible to validate the bible’s claims that it is the ultimate authority, you have already passed a judgment that the bible is not the ultimate authority since you have given that designation to whatever you use to validate it.”

However, for you literary critics out there, consider this (Reference: I’m borrowing the following line of reasoning from Dr. Voddie Baucham. I highly recommend his talk on the subject. Just google “Voddie Baucham why i choose to believe the bible” and either watch on Youtube or listen on Sermon Audio. Actually, here’s a link: [retrieved 1/24/12]):

The New Testament comes from over 6000 surviving manuscripts (compare that with: Caesar’s Gallic wars – 10 manuscripts, Aristotle’s Poetics – 5 manuscripts, Herodotus – less than 10) the earliest of which is dated about 120 AD (compare that with: Caesar’s Gallic wars – earliest 900 years after, Aristotle’s Poetics – 1300 years after).

The supernatural events reported in the bible were performed in the presence of many eyewitnesses (over 500 saw a resurrected Christ, 1 Cor 15:6)

The supernatural events recorded in the bible were in completion of specific prophecies (Ps 22:12-18 was written a thousand years before Christ by a man who’d never seen a crucifixion).

And finally – the bible has no internal inconsistencies despite the fact that it was originally written in 3 different languages, by over 40 different authors, across 3 continents, over the space of 1600 years.

Now that we agree that the bible can be treated as the firmest foundation any discussion can have, let’s see what the bible says about itself:

Psa 12:6-7 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

Pro 30:5-6 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Deu 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Psa 18:30-31 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?

Psa 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

It would seem that it would be a fearful thing to misuse the words of God. Not just the “word” of God, but the “words” of God. Note the language in Proverbs 30, “Every word of God is pure,” and add to that Psalms 138, “..for thou has magnified thy word above all thy name.” How often have I taken a verse out of context to try to support a point? I hope I did not augment my error by trying to use it to support a point that was not biblical. I pray that I might never be found twisting scripture to teach falsehoods!

In Ephesians, Paul talks about a warfare we are fighting. He states that it is not a fleshly warfare we are a part of (in that we aren’t fighting nations or sacking cities. We are, however, to fight our own flesh so that we might better serve God – Romans 7:21-25) but rather, a spiritual one

Eph 6:11-12 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

So what is this armor that we need to not fall casualties of war? [things in bold tied with scriptures beneath]

Eph 6:13-18 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

That’s all well and good, but how do I know about those things? How do I know truth? Or of what righteousness is other than by my conscience (2 Cor 1:12)?

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

2Tim 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Act 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Now I get to what got me thinking on this subject. I would hope that all followers of Christ would agree that the bible holds the words of God for his people. That it is to be believed and that it does not contradict itself. However, if it is true we agree on that, then why is there discord among our doctrine? Well, while the bible is the refined words of the Father to his children, we are still sinful and have imperfect understanding. I’m afraid that oftentimes we do not read the scripture to see what it teaches us to believe, but rather we try to use scripture to teach that which we already believe.

2Pet 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

2Pet 3:15-18 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

We must labor to read the scriptures and rightly divide the word of truth. We must not be lazy in this. It’s easy to read a few verses, interpret them with the beliefs we already hold, and call it a day. It can’t be done that way.


The most prolific bible verse is probably John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Many know that verse by heart and without thinking about it can say what they think it means:

“That’s saying that God loves everyone in the world and Jesus died so that everyone could have the choice of heaven."

Well, it can’t mean what they think it means because Paul says

Rom 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Go check it out. The bible just said that God hated someone (on a quick note: some will answer “well, that just means that God loved Esau less, and if you look up the Greek word for hated there you’ll see that ‘love less’ is a possible meaning.” They would be correct. However, Paul is actually quoting Malachi 1:2-3, and in the Hebrew that Paul is quoting, there are no alternate definitions of “hate.” It’s definition is “to hate (personally): - enemy, foe, (be) hate (-ful, -r), odious, X utterly.” Is there conflict in God’s word? No, in no wise. However, if there is conflict within our interpretation of scripture, we’ve shown that our interpretation is incorrect.

Now, to close the loop, allow me to present an analogy. If someone were to ask you to sketch a rain drop, how would you do it? Most children would probably make it round at the bottom and give it a pointy tail. That is actually incorrect. That’s what a drop of water sliding down something looks like. Drops falling through the air are mostly spherical. The reason being that the surface tension of the water forces the water droplet into a shape that has the least amount of stress: a sphere. The reason water going down your window are pointed is because of the shear forces acting on the water caused by the friction between the glass and the water. Take away the glass, and the droplet will regain the least stressed shape of a sphere - or mostly spherical since there would be friction between the water and the air as it fell. Ever seen the videos astronauts have taken of water drops float around their cabin? They are perfectly round because there isn’t even friction from the air since they aren’t falling.

In a way, the scriptures are like those drops of water. The truth in the bible maintains a simple shape, free of stress or conflict until imperfectly handled by marred man. Perhaps a more easily visualization is this: think of all the verses in the bible as rubber puzzle pieces that together form a puzzle larger than any man can put together and more beautiful that any can imagine. They all fit perfectly together to make the image, but can be twisted by men’s hands into the wrong places to create false images. I think that this twisting is unintentional for the most part, and can be avoided by having in our hands as many pieces as possible, instead of only have a few and trying to force them to make a complete picture.

Therefore brethren, let us press towards the mark. Let us not read a few chapters without any prayer or meditation and consider our devotion done. Let us search diligently the scriptures to see and understand as much of the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as possible this side of the glass (1 Cor 13:12). Let us not leave church Sunday afternoon and let the sermon preached be the deepest our spiritual thoughts descend that week. Let us be as those at Berea and receive the word with all readiness of mind, but then go home and search the scriptures daily, to see if those things are so.

If any of this is of benefit: praise God. If any of this is unsound or of the flesh: pray for me.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

God and Engineering Part 1: Design Safety Factor

As I try to keep my sword sharp in the midst of the hardest semester of my collegiate career, I have come to the conclusion (at the suggestion of my wise, big sister) that I should attempt to write and study about where I see God in my course work (I’m certain that a study of the burning bush while I was still in Heat Transfer would have had rich rewards – perhaps I can conduct it someday).

So come with me on a journey of which I know neither the extent nor the duration. My academic studies have taught me so much about the mechanics of the world we live in. But it’s God’s world, high time I remembered that fact while I’m learning about it.

In my Machine Design class last week, my professor was talking about design safety factors. 95% of everything we use was manufactured with a design safety factor, and the other 5% is what is commonly referred to as “cheap junk.” Ever seen a “Don’t put more than ____lbs on this____” sticker on something? If the label said 50 lb, you still wouldn’t expect it to break if you put 51 lb on it. That’s the design safety factor kicking in. If a kitchen chair needs to hold a 250lb person, whoever designs the chair will make sure it can hold 350lb.

Obviously there are different levels of safety factors. The strength in the threads in your socks to withstand dozens of washings isn’t as important as the brakes you expect to bring you to a stop at a red light. Sure, you can make socks out of Kevlar, but unless your coffee table’s legs have stepped up their game and have started trying to assassinate your feet with AK-47’s - it’d be a waste of money. So there’s also a problem of being “too safe.” Why would your kitchen door need hinges made out of 1in stainless steel with tungsten pins? - wouldn’t make sense. It’s a waste of material and space.

So, here is the list of considerations that go into calculating the required safety factor.

1. Accuracy of loads knowledge

2. Accuracy of stress calculation

3. Accuracy of strength knowledge

4. Need to conserve material or money

5. Seriousness of failure consequences

6. Quality of work in manufacture

7. Conditions of operations

8. Quality of maintenance

All of that has to be taken in to consideration when you’re designing something. If you know that it will be very difficult to maintain your product, or that it will be operating in harsh conditions, you’d better step up the quality and quantity of your materials, but it’s a delicate balance. Aircraft commonly have a safety factor of 1.5, much lower and the first time the plane encountered worse than average turbulence the wings would tear off, much higher and the plane would be too heavy to fly.

Now, take a moment to look at the back of your hand. Move your index finger up and down and see the tendon attached to it move. Now think about how you told your finger to move, or how if you cut your finger it would repair itself. The bones in your fingers don’t have a 2in diameter, nor are your tendons made out of an organic metal – God could have done it that way if he wanted to, but hands like that would be over designed for the world he put us in and would have been very cumbersome to use for delicate tasks. Conversely, you don’t worry about breaking your fingers every time you bring in the groceries. Our hands can defend us, hold our children, build houses, sew clothing, pick flowers, or dig post holes.

In the words of my professor:

“The human body is brilliantly designed.”

In the words of King David:

Psa 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

Ecc 11:5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.

Think of all creation: all the different species in all the different environments that have lived together on this planet for thousands of years, sustained with water moved across continents in clouds miles above the earth, that feed on vegetation that dies back in the winter but grows back in the spring, or of the 500 different species of bacteria living in your gut that greatly aid in the digestion of food but could kill you if they got out of balance. Yet it all hasn’t come to a screeching halt because of a design flaw or something the manufacture cut a corner on to save money.

Ecc 1:7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.

I highly recommend reading Job 38-41 where God does an excellent job (Job, job - ha) declaring the wonders of his creation - the work of his fingertips.

Psa 8:3-4 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

That’s all for now, but perhaps I’ll be led to look at that list of 8 considerations in a little more detail. Just of the top of my head, here are some closing verses that go with the first three.

1. Accuracy of loads knowledge

2. Accuracy of stress calculation

3. Accuracy of strength knowledge

Psa 103:14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

Isa 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What did you do today?

For the past couple of years, my spiritual life has been in a very consistent sinusoidal pattern. I realize that we can’t stay on mountain tops, and even though we’ve been saved by God’s grace, we’re sinners saved by grace so we will always stumble. So I admit valleys must exist, but I want to try as hard as possible to keep the average as high as possible (y=sin x + z instead of y=sin x). God recently pulled me out of a spiritual valley, and I have been reading some admonishing/encouraging verses that I thought I’d share.

What is it that I need to do every day? Definitely more than I have. I need to pray, read my bible, and encourage someone else to do the same. That’s a bare minimum.

Ps 55:17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.

Ps 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

A few nights ago I prayed for about 30 minutes. At first it didn’t feel like my prayers were getting above the ceiling, but the Lord loves his children: always. So I received a lot of comfort from a long talk with the Father.

1 Tim 2:1-3 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;

1 Tim 2:8 I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrathand doubting.

Paul instructed Timothy that he and all believers pray. That they should pray for one another, for those who ruled over them.

2 Tim 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;

I have a bad habit of only going to God with “big” problems. But that’s stupid because there are no “big” problems for God. To him they’re all small problems. Compared to infinity both 0.00001 and a 100,000,000,000 are miniscule. So I should be instant in talking to God about everything: from doing well on a test, to getting married, to finding my car keys.

Phi 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Second, we all need to read the bible, and if we are reading we need to read more.

2 Tim 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for Instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

The bible is the word of God. Not just the book as a whole, but the words in it. They’re all inspired, to the point that both Jesus and Paul would base entire doctrinal arguments on one word or one letter even (Mark 12:26-27 & Gal 3:16). The bible is one of God’s greatest gifts to his children besides salvation. Jesus could’ve come into the world, died for our sins, and the only record of it be a paragraph in a history book about Roman law. We would be just as much children of God as we are now (Rom 8:38-39), but oh what joy there is in knowing of that salvation!

2 Tim 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

Friends we need to read.

1 Tim 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

Ecc 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

We need to read and continue to read. The bible isn’t a movie or video game that you watch or play through once and then say “yeah I beat that game, it was good. I recommend it,” but never pick up again. It’s something that we should seek guidance from everyday.

2 Tim 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

Timothy had known the scriptures from childhood, but Paul tells him to continue studying.

2 Tim 4:13 The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee,and the books, but especially the parchments.

2 Tim 4:21 Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.

Paul wrote 2 Tim from a Roman prison (a prison I doubt was anything like our prisons, probably more like a dungeon). It was the last epistle he would write before being beheaded. Winter was approaching and Paul wanted Timothy to get there before then: probably for concern of his safety due to the dangers of traveling by boat during the winter, desire to see him again, etc. Paul asks the young minister to bring a couple of things: Paul cloak, understandable since the Roman cell probably didn’t have central heating, and “the books, but especially the parchments.” Paul had studied the scriptures all his life. He had been a Pharisee of the Pharisees after all. He knew that he was going to die soon, and yet he still wanted to read God’s word. How much more should we study.

One error that I find myself in, however, is believing that “I just didn’t have time to read or pray today, I’ll do it tomorrow.” What a lie! I somehow don’t “have time” to read God’s word but I have plenty of time to watch YouTube clips, or play video games, or any other number of pointless gimmicks designed to do nothing but entertain.

Eph 5:15-16 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

It’s mind boggling the amount of time I waste in a given day. In the month of June, God blessed me with the self-discipline to read the whole bible. I read the WHOLE bible, in ONE month. And yet for most of my life I struggled to read even HALF the bible in a year. I had to read about 2-3 hours a day (40 chapters), but it wasn’t really that hard. That’s just not watching a random movie, playing Xbox for hours on end, not playing flash games on facebook, etc.

Matt 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Let’s do some math. The average person can read 300 words per minute and still have good comprehension, but let’s knock that down to 200 wpm. The bible contains roughly 791,000 words. At 200 wpm, that equals about 4000 minutes of reading time or about 66 hours. So to read the bible once in a year, you have to read the bible for a staggering (ready for this?): 11 minutes a day. Wow… 11 whole minutes. I could read during commercial breaks and read more than that. How pathetic my reading habits have been.

Finally, if I find myself remotely steady on my feet, for however short a time; I should encourage someone else who may be faltering.

Tim 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

We’re but strangers here, heaven is our home. So as children of the King in enemy territory, we should always be there for one another.

Pro 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

I pray this has been an encouraging admonishment to me and to whoever reads this. Pray for me.

Rev 22:20-21 He that testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.