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Monday, December 22, 2014

"Read" the Word!

Jesus said many things but there is one thing He did not say: "Whoever watches videos or movies, let him understand." What He didsay was, "whoever reads [Daniel], let him understand" (Matt. 24:15). Over and over He urged people to "read" the Bible which the Holy Spirit has inspired: "Have you not read ... ?" "Did you never read in the Scriptures ... ?" (Matt. 12:3, 5; 19:4; 21:16, 42; 22:31).
When He was invited to preach on Sabbath, He turned to the Book of Isaiah and read to the people.
A special "blessing" (happiness, life-giving joy) is for anyone who "reads" the inspired words (Rev. 1:3). But a great proportion of those who claim to "love Jesus" don't love His word; they look on the Bible as boring. It has to be acted out as theater; then they think they can grasp it.
But the problem is that inevitably "theater" distorts and misrepresents the message God wants us to "understand." With the best intentions of the actors to "play" Jesus, they produce fiction. We may think the drama helps us visualize the original story, but it's always confusing in some way. And in this time of world history, confusion is the last thing any child of God wants. In fact, we are expressly called to "come out of her [Babylon, confusion], My people, lest [we] share in her sins, and lest [we] receive of her plagues" (Rev. 18:3, 4).
God particularly, expressly, calls us to "read." The reason is that the Holy Spirit speaks in the word, which is the Bible; "I will make My words known to you," He says (Prov. 1:23).
Yes, the promise is real: He will flash on to your mind the true re-creation of the original message or story God put into the text. You don't need some man to "play" Jesus for you in a video or movie (he will in every case distort and "confuse" the representation, because no man on earth is qualified to stand in for Jesus in a movie).
"Read" the word! Stay close to it, exercise your mind on it, bring it into focus, study; deny self. Let the Holy Spirit discipline you. Your salvation may depend on it.
--Robert J. Wieland

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