Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Send The Light"1 (Lyrics)
Did you, like me, write your first letters on a slate with chalk? In Jesus' day, it is said that, as a reward, teachers in Hebrew synagogue schools would put honey on the slates of children doing well. They were then allowed to lick the honey off as the rabbi said:
Psalm 119:103 – How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (NIV)
Words have always been sweet to me. Books opened the door to adventure and much-loved characters. I progressed from Blyton to Bronte. My heroes were Horatio Hornblower and Allan Quatermain. I shivered with White Fang and dallied with Scarlett O'Hara. My imagination conjured up tales, and I filled notebooks with stories and ideas.
Introduced to the typewriter, I was forced to memorize the placement of the keys by means of a cloth tied about my neck, hiding my hands. After learning shorthand, I worked as a legal secretary in England and Canada. In those days, long documents were typed individually and sealed with warm red wax. I took pride in being able to type perfectly and quickly, and took pleasure in the beautiful old words.
When I began to read the Bible, I knew that I'd hit the motherlode. The Bible is fascinating for its word plays. I'm thrilled with battles, astonished by details, and captivated by the people. When I wonder, Did God really say that? the Holy Spirit helps me to understand the truth. Whatever version we use, the meaning is perfectly clear if we take the time to learn.
John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (NIV)
Today, formal business letters have been replaced by casual email, sometimes resulting in misunderstandings. What did we do for centuries before the telephone was invented? We wrote. Now, we have returned to the written word and added emoticons and symbols that could be considered similar to those penned by the Egyptians. We might use our thumbs or a stylus for texting, but is there any excuse for not being able to convey our thoughts accurately?
As a teen, I had a dozen pen pals all over the world. Now, I write encouraging letters to prisoners. My family enjoys a close relationship because we write regularly. Visiting them feels as if I'd never left. Relationships take time and effort, and the same is true with God. Writing and listening to Him provides us with the personal knowledge necessary for us to hear those precious words, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" (Matthew 25:21a NIV)
The blank pages of a notebook offer mystery, opportunity: the unknown. What will happen during the coming days, the approaching year? What will the Holy Spirit reveal to me? What will God teach me? How will He use me?
Socrates said, "The unexamined life isn't worth living." Why don't you make it a practice this coming year to meditate and write down your thoughts and prayers?
Prayer: Father, help us not to become lazy in our words or in our relationships. Help us to take the time to read, write, talk, and pray, that we might get to know You and others better. Help us to understand and appreciate Your Word. Amen.