Owner's Manual 

Read Before Operating

Two days before Easter, my gas range broke; to repair it would cost more than it was worth, so we had to purchase a new one. Not only was this an unplanned expense, but fifteen people were coming to my house for Easter dinner! I couldn't put off this purchase. Easter morning arrived; my family and I went to church; we had a blessed morning rejoicing in the resurrection, and then we came home to get dinner started. But when I turned on the oven, I realized I didn't know how to program it! 

Even though I had briefly read the directions the day before, I didn't know how to operate my new stove! (Panic!) I tried again. (Stay calm.) Fifteen people would soon be knocking on my door and I didn't know how to turn on my stove! What to do? Now I was eagerly reading the manual trying to figure out how to operate it. Why did the manufacturer make it so difficult to understand? I handed the manual to some early arrivers, asking for their help. No such luck; they couldn't figure it out either. After several more attempts to turn it on, I called the 800 number, no one answered (of course not, it was Easter!). I read the Owner's Manual some more. I was flustered and in panic mode. ("Is Kentucky Fried Chicken open today?" I wondered.) I kept reading and punching buttons, and presto!, the stove turned on. It heated up. Yes, it was on! An hour later, the roast was finished. We ate and I received rave reviews from my guests. (Whew, close call!) 

As the days passed, I became more familiar with my new stove's Owner's Manual, it wasn't as difficult as it originally seemed. In fact, my new appliance is quite easy to use! I just needed to spend more time reading the Owner's Manual before using it.

This scenario got me thinking about the believer's relationship with God. We too have been given an Owner's Manual for life—the Bible. If we spend little time reading it, and life gets cooking, we might get flustered as I did, or call on someone who really can't help, or blame God for our circumstances, the way I blamed the manufacturer for making the stove so difficult to use.

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, tells us to put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes (and if you have a pulse, it will come), we can stand our ground. Soldiers learn to put on their armor long before the battle begins. The lesson here, don't wait until the last minute, when you're in crisis mode, to learn how to use your armor. We must read the Owner's Manual to get prepared, geared up, and made ready for life's trials. God's Word teaches us to:

Not Give In

By reading, studying, knowing, and memorizing God's Word, we'll be able "To stand firm, so that the body of Christ may be built up. . . we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching. . . Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus" Ephesians 5:13.

Another principle at work here is if I want my stove to operate correctly, I must follow the guidelines set forth in the Owner's Manual. I can't use my old stove's manual and expect my new stove to work properly. Likewise, when we disregard the guidelines set forth in God's Word, and follow other directions, we shouldn't be surprised by a bad outcome. In fact, disobeying God's standards will end tragically for those who do not repent and turn back to him. God instructs us to hide his word in our hearts, so we don't sin against him (Psalm 119:11). God wired us "in his image," which is why he wants us to obey him. He loves us and knows what's best for our lives. 

Not Give Out

"Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed" James 1:14. But when we are guided by the Owners Manual--the Bible, God promises to be faithful to his children ". . . he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Not Give Up

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. . . I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" Philippians 3:12-14.

Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" Matthew 11:29-30. 

Prayer: Dear Father, Help me prepare for the challenges you have planned for my life. Help me to be faithful to you and your Word. Help me to press on in my faith. Amen.

Your webservant,
Sarah Keith <><

Copyright 2012 SA Keith

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