HOPE for the HAPLESS

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12


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“Is It Helpful?” is not as Helpful as “Is It True?”

When did we get into the habit of allowing religious discussion to be thought of as something divorced from reality?  The stuff of the spirit separate and removed from the stuff of everyday life … “spiritual” vs “real.”  Even when we know better, why do we so often allow others to frame the conversation as an “either/or” proposition?  If it isn’t real – if it isn’t true – really and truly true – then what’s the point?  Allowing “truth” to be separated from reality (eg. religious truth versus scientific truth, my truth versus your truth) just isn’t helpful!

Here is a great quote from C.S. Lewis.

One of the things that distinguishes man from the other animals is that he wants to know things, wants to find out what reality is like, simply for the sake of knowing.  When that desire is completely quenched in anyone, I think he has become something less than human. As a matter of fact, I don’t believe any of you have really lost that desire. More probably, foolish preachers, by always telling you how much Christianity will help you and how good it is for society, have actually led you to forget that Christianity is not a patent medicine. Christianity claims to give an account of facts – to tell you what the real universe is like. Its account of the universe may be true, or it may not, and once the question is really before you, then your natural inquisitiveness must make you want to know the answer. If Christianity is untrue, then no honest man will want to believe it, however helpful it might be: if it is true, every honest man will want to believe it, even if it gives him no help at all.

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The Book that was Never Meant to Be Read?

The picture above is one of the smallest of the Bibles I have in my office. It is also one of the most difficult to read. Not just because it is so small (2″ X 2.5″) but because it is written in Hebrew. I guess you could say that this Bible wouldn’t be worth much to most people. They simply couldn’t use it.

What a shame.

Do you want to know something even more sad than that? This Bible was never meant to be read!

I picked it up at the Jewish pavilion in Edmonton’s “Heritage Days” Festival. The woman I bought it from was very kind and answered many of my questions such as “Why do you make portions of the Bible that are so small?” [There was another version there less than half the size of this one!] The answer she gave me was very enlightening.

In Deut. 6:6-9 it is written: “And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates”

When those words were first spoken they were meant to show just how vital it is to keep God’s Word before us every day of our lives … at home in our families, at work … everywhere! Unfortunately, over time this came to be seen by many people as little more than a superstition. Keep a portion of God’s Word with you wherever you are and “good luck” will follow you. Thus the little Bible that was never really meant to be read … just kept.

But when you think about it, isn’t that the way we so often treat the Word of God. Little more than a good luck charm. Something to fall back on just in case life starts to get rough. Until then, it’s just nice to know it’s there if needed.

How many homes have Bibles in them that are never read? How many different excuses have you come up with for not reading yours? (Not enough time, too hard to understand, don’t know where to start, I did it once already …)

The Bible is the most precious gift God has given us outside of Christ Jesus Himself. The Bible has the power to change your life. (Just as it has changed millions of lives before you.) It is His love letter to you. An unchanging message of peace, hope, love, and forgiveness in the midst of a world and a life that changes by the minute. It is the one absolute Truth in a world gone crazy with shades of gray. The truth of God’s love for you in Jesus.

Our God is not a tame God, C.S. Lewis once wrote. He’s not happy to merely be kept. So don’t let your Bible turn into a lucky charm. Forget your old excuses, look instead to God’s promises in His Word! It will change your life for the better and forever!