Sabbath, April 3rd - . . a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV) How Do You Handle God's Word?
Sabbath, April 10th - If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1:8 Missing the Mark
Sabbath, April 17th - O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:9
Sabbath, April 24th - The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts.
First Day of Unleavened Bread, Wednesday, April 28th - Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind. Psalm 26:2
Sabbath, May 1st - You shall count off fifty days until the day after the seventh Sabbath, Leviticus 23:16
Tuesday, May 4th - Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Hebrews 12:12
Sabbath, April 3rd
How Do You Handle God’s Word?
. . . . a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
Materials: a hand-held fan, a box puzzle
Do you remember the first time you saw a fan folded up? Were you absolutely amazed when the lady snapped it open with a flick of her wrist? That fan, a combination of paper, wood, and glue, became a useful tool - when mere moments earlier, it was not helpful. Another apparently useless item is a puzzle box? It looks like a piece of decorative wood on a shelf. It seemingly does nothing but take up space and collect dust. But if you know how to open the box, it becomes a place to keep treasures.
I saw my fan the other day and couldn’t help thinking how well the fan illustrates this verse in 2 Timothy 2:15: a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
If we belong to God and we are His servants, then it logically follows that God has given us a job to do. We are to be witnesses of Him to the people around us. We are to make disciples of all nations. We are to spread the good news of the kingdom of God. Furthermore, God has given us a tool to accomplish that task: the Bible, the word of God, the word of truth.
So here’s the question: Do we handle that tool rightly? Do we use the Bible in the correct manner? That means believing it to be true, believing that it doesn’t contradict itself, that it means what it says and says what it means! We don’t take the Bible and add anything to it; we don’t add other people’s thoughts (other writings or books), we don’t add our own interpretations. We don’t pick and choose what we want to believe. We have to take all of the Bible, not just our favorite parts.
But just believing that God’s word is true isn’t enough. We have to know what the Bible says. That means we shouldn’t leave our Bible on the shelf and only read it on the Sabbath or when we need God’s help. We have to study it carefully, reading it diligently each day, seeking to understand what God’s telling us. Thankfully, those who belong to God have the Holy Spirit to help guide and illuminate God’s word so we can understand and apply the word of truth.
So we talked about the fan - how it’s a good object lesson of rightly handling God’s words. The puzzle box is also a good object lesson! Just as the puzzle box can hold treasures, so does the Bible. But you have to open the box to see the treasure, just as you have to open the Bible to find the treasures God has for you inside!
Here’s the bottom line: if you desire to know what God has said, so you open the Bible and read it, then you won’t be ashamed. Quite the contrary, in fact. God will bless you as you seek Him and His word of truth.
Sabbath, April 10th
Missing the Mark
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8
Materials: marshmallows, popsicle catapults (https://academy.animaljam.com/posts/marshmallow-catapult)
There's something very compelling about hitting a target: darts, basketball, golf, skeet shooting, archery . . . and catapults come to mind! It takes skill to hit the bulls-eye consistently time after time. Who doesn’t like the call: nothing but net!! It has even become part of our language. If someone is describing something, we might say, “You nailed it” or “You hit that dead center.” The slang term of “right on” derives from the concept of having your sights right on the target. You are accurate.
Because we have this concept in our culture, it helps us enormously to understand the concept of sin. Literally, the word sin in the Greek means “missing the mark.” What a mental picture this creates for us!! Our desire is to hit the target, to hit dead center, to hit the mark. Nowhere is this more important than when we’re talking about obedience to God. We want our actions to be right on, to nail God’s commandments, to be on target with every one of our actions.
How do people get better at archery or catapulting? Practice. Attention to detail. Desire to hit the mark. The same applies to not sinning, aka obedience to God’s law. We practice. When we fail, we repent and we try again. We pay attention to the details, seeking out God’s will to do it exactly as He desires. And we earnestly desire to do what is right in God’s sight. If we have the desire, if we pay attention, and if we persevere, we may get closer to obedience and avoiding sinning (missing the mark). We also need God’s guidance - through the Holy Spirit and reading God’s word.
Some people miss the mark repeatedly, so they want to move the target. God doesn’t change; His laws don’t change. We cannot change the law just because we feel like it - and we cannot move the target just because we can’t hit it with our marshmallow catapult.
Read your Bible. Pay attention to what it says. And greatly desire to hit the mark!