Once again, I am reading the Bible through during the year. No way to imagine beginning a day without getting into and reading God’s Word first thing in the morning. Last year was no different except I read it more randomly without a goal to read it all the way through as I had done in the past. Long before the end of the year I was regretting it and became aware of the value of reading ALL of the Bible within some time frame. One year, 6 months, or every two years. Whatever suits your style; just READ IT DAILY and all the way through. By the way, I am into two new twists this year and have enjoyed the changes. First of all, I am reading the Bible chronologically with the aid of a Bible written in chronological order. It is called
Reading God’s Story: A Chronological Daily Bible
The other new twist for me is using a Kindle Fire to read it!. Now that is a biggie for the most techno-challenged member of the Pearson household.
I began with all that to set the stage for what is on my mind today. Naturally, a chronological study of the Bible begins with Genesis which is, of course, THE explanation of THE beginning which sets the foundation of a person’s “world view”.
You can’t believe everything you hear. For instance, when I sat down at church tonight, there was a young man behind me and an elderly one in the pew in front of me. The older gentleman obviously heard the man behind me singing because during the prayer he could not wait to turn around and congratulate me on my fine music abilities. As much as i wish it had been me, he was mistaken about who he was listening to. These days we are all constantly bombarded with all sorts of information. We sure can’t believe everything we hear! I saw a marquee this morning which read, “Calendars change; God never changes”. We all need that foundational truth.
After reading the first chapter of the Bible on New Year’s Day, I looked out my window and saw tangible evidence of incredible natural order which matched what I had just read about from an ancient text. There was grass which I had planted, then there was grass that came up voluntarily, then there was wheat beginning to grow after being planted by a local farmer. Each one in a different stage of development growing harmoniously side by side and yet each one serving a specific purpose. Beyond all those, huge trees with all their leaves gone, exposing bare limbs, indicating yet another season in which every one of them followed the same preset order of change so starkly evident each year. Even with such a tiny and limited glimpse outside one’s window, who can possibly come to any conclusion other than the existence of a Creator? Not a chaotic or haphazard Creator, but one of unfathomable natural order.
“Healthy and stable families are essential to the preservation of a free society. They limit the size and intrusiveness of government, promote public engagement, stabilize neighborhoods, and build the institutions of civil society.” Allan C. Carlson, Ph.D
In our family order just naturally prevails at all times. Yea, right! You can imagine the coaxing and cajoling which took place to produce this fleeting moment of order. But, I truly can assure you each of the smiles reflecting happiness, excitement and Christmas joy are very real. I know this because I was there and a part of it all. (I put Allie’s picture on top because she could not be at this particular gathering. She was certainly at some before this when some others were not. Plus, I don’t do photoshopping, yet. I put her “up top” because all her cousins “look up to her”. And with good reason!) And yes, there is within this picture a picture of natural order. You see, there is a picture of “family” in this picture. There are brothers and sisters and cousins and grandparents in this picture. And there are 3 sets of parents not in the picture but very much present in the room and being a part of it all by frantically clicking various cameras to make sure everybody gets “the picture” once it’s all said and done.
After all, “the picture” and the pictures within the picture are what’s important. I am confident that each of these children (which happen to be mine, of course) will carry this picture with them into life. All too soon they will begin to grow up and go places and eventually begin their own twigs of the family tree. But, the picture within the picture within their minds is what will endure. They don’t understand the true value of it now, but they have a sense of belonging. A sense of uniqueness. A sense of family. A sense of natural order. Children need that. Adults need that. Remember the Creator? The Source of natural order. He knew we each would have that need and He desires for us all to experience its fulfillment. “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b.
I conducted some research recently about current family trends. There are a lot of disturbing social and political forces out there these days which threaten to undermine, weaken and even to destroy families. (See John 10:10a). You know what they are all too well, so you won’t see a reference to any of them here; at least not in today’s post. Just be reminded of how valuable your family is to you, to your relatives, even to the very unique freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the USA. For there to be order there must be definite priorities in place. Priorities numbers One and Two for anyone leading or supporting a family are clearly evident in the first few chapters of Genesis. Those would be a commitment to God and to family in that order. Everything else follows.
Last spring we had some landscaping done in the backyard you see in the picture. There were lots of days when it was really torn up and looked terrible. But, with time and effort, it returned to order and is a very pleasing sight again. Sometimes things happen in families that can make the scene look torn up and even terrible. But, having a “picture” of what it is suppose to be like can always help us get back to order and that pleasing and reassuring “sight” we all long for it to be. As parents and grandparents, lets pass that pleasing picture on to the next generation.