A Manual For Life

Monday, April 24, 2023
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "How Sweet The Name Of Jesus Sounds"1 (Lyrics)

"Can you come over? The sewing machine that you loaned me isn't working right." My neighbour was frustrated. It was a new machine that had been used only a few times. What could go wrong?

My first attempt to fix it didn't work. I tried everything: changing the needle, changing the bobbin, rethreading it. Nothing worked. I looked through the manual and couldn't find anything else. "I'm sorry, but I can't see why it isn't working. Let me think about it and do some research."

A few days later, I returned for one more try; then, I checked the troubleshooting guide in the manual and discovered the answer that I hadn't seen before: a switch was out of place. I moved it and the machine worked like it was supposed to.

Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (NKJV)

As believers, we have the ultimate manual: God's Word, the Bible. Like my attempt to fix that machine, sometimes, we have to return to the Bible several times before we absorb and understand and are ready to implement what we have read about a particular problem.

While the Bible may not provide exact instructions for every situation in life, there are guidelines and principles that we can apply to every situation. Here are just a few:

  • How do I interact with the people in my family, my neighbourhood, my church, etc.? "And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8b NKJV) Those three actions should cover most situations.

  • What kind of attitude should I have as I go about my day? "Put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection." (Colossians 3:12b-14 NKJV). Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all acted that way?

  • How can I have an abundant life? "I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10b NKJV) That doesn't mean that we won't have any problems, but we will have peace and joy in the midst of whatever we're facing.

The Bible is the only manual that provides guidelines for living a fruitful and fulfilling life. It must be part of our daily lives, something that we read often, refer to in any situation, and meditate upon as we go through our day. In order to understand God's instruction manual rightly, we must read it prayerfully, carefully, and with ever-increasing understanding, asking the Holy Spirit for guidance and direction for our lives.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – Every scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character, so that the person who belongs to God can be equipped to do everything that is good. (CEB)

Prayer: Lord, help us to commit to daily study and communication with You through Your Word. Amen.

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About the author:

Sharon Cook <craftercook@gmail.com>
Apache Junction, Arizona, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen Sharon.

    Thanks for the apt reminder, Sharon.

    Your prayer today, Sharon, says it all.

    Really great devotional today. Thank you for this!

    Thank you, Sharon, for sharing this encouraging devotional with us. To God be the glory! Blessings.

    Thanks, Sharon, for another of your very special writings. Yes, reading the Bible and abiding by the Lord’s words makes a great change in how we conduct our daily lives. His words certainly give us feelings of comfort and security. Blessings for your writings.

    It’s my start to the day!
    My subscription to “Encounter with God” takes me methodically through the Bible over the years. Even books that are puzzling and dated, like the current Leviticus, can be gleaned for nourishment!
    May the trust you have in the Word and the wisdom, comfort, and direction it brings, continue to bless you!
    Warm wishes,

    Good morning, Sharon,
    What a good example of the importance of reading our Bible you used to illustrate this with the manual for the sewing machine. It is so true that we don’t always understand the message of the Bible from one reading, and we need to spend time absorbing and understanding the messages that are enclosed there. Recently I have had two friends comment that their cell phones do not come with manuals.
    Great examples of how to put some of those verses into practice in our everyday lives. To achieve those goals also take practice. They don’t happen overnight.
    Let us open our manuals to grow our faith. Blessings.

    Good afternoon, Sharon,
    Yes, there are times when we need to check the manual. I remember years ago at work we had an instrumentation engineer who was very good at his work. I said to him one day “I don’t know how you can remember all this stuff” He told me that he couldn’t, but he knew where to find it in his manuals. It dawned on me that I did the same. I had accounting books and the records from other projects I had been on, and I quite often had to go back to check something or other. And it is the same with the Bible, sometimes I forget and then I have to check that manual.
    Thank you for writing.

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