Close, But Not Quite
By Glynnis Whitwer

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)

My husband and I got married while still in college, and we were on a very meager budget. Our honeymoon was a trip to San Francisco, with a stop at my grandparents in Napa. After the wedding, we packed our little car and headed northwest from our home in Phoenix through the hot desert sun.

Because of the distance of the trip, we planned a mid-way stop in Las Vegas. We didn’t know any of the hotels, and making reservations before the age of the Internet was a challenge. But we did find one in our price range called the Sand Dunes. We both thought we’d heard of that hotel before, and assumed it was one of the nicer ones in Vegas. We congratulated ourselves on getting such a great deal.

Boy, were we surprised when we pulled up to the Sand Dunes and found the check-in counter at the back of a liquor store! Needless to say, we didn’t spend even one night of our honeymoon at the Sand Dunes. We found a decent hotel, at a decent price and enjoyed our time together.

We were still left puzzled. Why did we think the Sand Dunes would be a nice place? We found the two missing pieces to that puzzle the next day as we drove past the very elegant Dunes hotel, and then past the equally delightful Sands hotel. It seemed the owners of the dumpy Sand Dunes motel were playing off the names of their beautiful neighbors, and hoping to lure unsuspecting guests to their establishment.

Assuming something to be true because it sounds right, can be very disappointing and even dangerous … especially when we are dealing with the truth of Scripture. It’s easy to assume we know something about the Bible, because it sounds familiar. Lots of “truth” has been passed down through generations, although it’s not found in the Bible. For example, I’m guessing “Cleanliness is next to godliness” was probably developed by a mother. “God helps those who help themselves” isn’t in Scripture either. In fact, the opposite is true.

The only way to know if something we believe is true or not, is to research it ourselves in the Bible. It’s good to listen to sound biblical teaching, and commentaries are helpful too. However, a non-scholar can understand the Bible, if that person takes the time to read with a teachable heart that is searching for truth.

Sometimes all it takes is an investment in a Bible that is easy for you to read. There are many translations and various types of study Bibles available today. There are Bibles geared toward women, mothers, teen girls, or grandmothers. A devotional Bible can provide tidbits of inspiration to keep you interested and encouraged. Also, I’ve found it helpful to read shorter passages of Scripture at a time, but read it over several times until I really understand it.

God desires to reveal Himself to us through His Word. When we know it for ourselves, and handle it correctly, we can be saved from many difficult situations, and from sin that can lead us away from God. It can even help us avoid unsuspectingly spending our nights at the “Sand Dunes” of life.

Dear Lord, thank You for revealing Yourself to us through the Bible. Help me to read Your Word with an open and teachable heart. As I read the Bible, help it to come alive to me. I want to know You more, and to know Your truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Women’s Devotional Bible

The Character of God: Understanding His Heart for Us, by Brian T. Anderson and Glynnis Whitwer

P31 Woman magazine

Visit Glynnis Whitwer’s blog

Application Steps:
Pick one belief you hold about God or about how to live life, and research scriptures on that topic. Make sure you read each scripture in context.

If reading the Bible consistently is hard for you, what are some of your challenges?

Can you think of some ways to make Bible reading more of a habit in your daily life?

Power Verses:
John 8:31-32, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (NIV)

Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (NIV)

© 2008 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.


Blogger Jody said...

Wow - this is a powerful blog. I am new to your page and find every lesson insightful, applicable and challenging. Thank you once again.

Blogger debra said...

I found your blog this week. Thank you so much. It has been such a blessing to me. I have been so encouraged by it. Keep up the good work... ~Debra~

One of the most powerful truths I believe about my God that has marked my pilgrimage for the rest of my days is that...

We serve the one and only God who can be known.

It is my goal to know him more every day and to lead others to do the same.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am going to share this devotion with my children. My oldest son (15) and I were discussing this very thing yesterday - the need to line our belief up with Scripture (even if we think it comes from the Bible - check it out to be sure). My younger two are also learning through their current unit study that all knowledge needs to line up with the Word of God. It is great to be able to share someone else's thoughts with my children as well.


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