1- The Owners Manual
Does life have an Instruction Book?
I have often heard people say that life does not come with an instruction book. We know that when we purchase a new product, a car, a phone, a home, and just about anything, we get an owner’s manual along with it. These owner’s manuals that many of us ignore and throw away, never even looking at them, are valuable because they are the manufacturer’s instructions. You and I may think we know it all, but we do not know more about the product than those who created it. We will know and grow more by spending time reading God`s manual than with anything else. Regardless of why we ignore these manuals, our laziness, arrogance, or ignorance, it is good to change this habit and take the time to read these when we purchase something. I will be the first to admit that I qualified for all three of those excuses for most of my life as to why I did not take the time to read the instructions.
But What About People?
For the sake of argument, let us say that we all agree that taking the time to read through the owner’s manual when we purchase something is a good idea and can help us all to use the products we buy in the correct ways. That still doesn’t answer the question of humans and how we are supposed to know how to live this life we have on earth. The good news is that there is such a manual and it was written by the Manufacturer Himself. Sixty-six books are all placed together and sitting idle on a hotel nightstand near you.
Perhaps it is for the same reasons we do not read other manuals that we fail to understand the most important one of all.
Only one in Ten Professing Christians Have Read the Entire Bible
A startling statistic shows that less than 10% of professing Christians have read it all, yet just about everyone on the planet knows it exists and has formed strong opinions and beliefs about what is in it. Second and third-hand information funneled through the opinions and views of others is not the ideal way to get information accurately or entirely.
For me, to tell you what the bible teaches us is one thing. But, for you to pick it up and read it for yourself is quite another. So, without getting all preachy and giving a sermon, my number one place in my top 5 sources in life that I use is the Holy Bible. Man’s instruction manual from the Manufacturer of life.
One last thing I would add here. It is ultimately the relationship with Jesus that I find. He is the Living Word. When looking for solid biblical teaching, none have proved more faithful to the gospel than John MacArthur. So, I recommend Grace to You. They have a webpage where you can download all of John MacArthur’s sermons for free. They also have YouTube channels representing the Master’s Seminary, and you can view entire courses in the bible.
2 – Books
Not to be confused with “The Book,” referred to as my number one place on this list. Readers are leaders, and if we want to know and grow, we need to make time to read and learn.
Books on many different topics and interests have proven to be an incredible source of knowledge, learning, and personal development for me. It is unfortunate for many of us who were forced in school to read books that we disliked, were boring, and were a waste of our time to read in the massive scheme of things. Many of these books did more harm than good as they created a dislike for reading in many students.
Read The Right Books
And that is unfortunate. Books are awesome when we read the right ones. You probably have tasted food that you like and food you hate. If all you ever ate was the food you hated, eating would probably be something you only did when necessary. You would only eat the amounts required to stay alive. For most boys in school, reading the book “to kill a mockingbird” was like listening to someone run their fingernails across a chalkboard over and over again. Mainly because they spend way too much time on this one book.
It seemed as though we spent an entire semester in this book, and I developed a strong dislike for reading because of it. If it were the only book we had to read like this, perhaps I could have overcome it. But the reading requirements never changed, and neither did my dislike for reading.
Several years after high school, when tragedy struck, my dear late grandmother sent me a book in the mail. “God still moves stones,” by Max Lucado.
I could not put it down and read it from cover to cover. The words jumped off of the page and hit right in the heart of what I was dealing with at the time. It forever changed my view of books and how big a role they can play when I want to know and grow.
3 – Family
No one plays a more significant role in our early years than our families do, positive or negative. Even if we grow up in a dysfunctional family or have little to no family, the impact family has on us lasts a lifetime.
Different but the Same
We are all similar yet unique and see things differently at times. In addition, we have different personalities and experiences that form our views and values early on in life.
Even two boys who grew up in the same home can be as different as night and day. While there are differences, no one knows us like our own families. And no one accepts us or cares about us as much as our close family members do. Until you have children of your own, sometimes this does not sink in as it should. And through the years, we may grow distant from some and closer to others. That is just part of life.
We can all think of someone we go to when the heat is up or down, and those people are irreplaceable. My late mother was like a rock, she never disappointed me. She seemed to care when no one else did and loved me unconditionally. I will forever be grateful for the time I had her beautiful soul in my life. God bless her.
Sometimes this can be the best source of learning and support, making decisions, or just having someone tell you like it is. Much of what we know and how we grow can be traced back to our close friendships. It can also be the worst place to go as friends can limit us based on their own beliefs or experiences.
Either way, a good friend is something to be profoundly grateful for, and can be a person with whom we grow and learn throughout our lifetime. As teenagers, our friends mean the most, and parents usually take a back seat for a while.
When we marry, we “forsake all others,” and our spouse becomes our closest and most important companion in life.
Our Choices of Friends Are Important ones.
This choice is always better when choosing friends to be with who are headed in the same direction. Are you ambitious and have your sights set on becoming more disciplined with your time and how you spend it? Then, choosing like-minded friends make sense to get the most out of your life.
On the other hand, hanging around friends who only want to sit and play X-Box night and day might not be the best idea. It may be fun, but it offers little opportunity for growth.
A friend should make you a better person. Not drag you down, destroy your ambitious dreams or goals, or have a life that you would never want to have. Ideally, having friends who are already where you want to go or those you look up to will be the kind of friends who help you grow into the person you want to be. Someone who has no desire to improve or change for the better will not stay the same. We are growing or fading.
We use it or lose it, which is just the way life is.
5 -Grace to You ( church)
The church should be a major part of any believer in Christ. Over the years, the church that has had the most lasting and significant impact on my personal growth along with the word of God is Grace Community Church and pastor John MacArthur. And I have never actually been to the church.
On their Church website, “Grace to you” or gty.org, all of John MacArthur`s sermons are there to listen to or watch free of charge. I have listened to hundreds of his expository preaching sermons and have learned so much from this great godly saint and servant of Christ.
If you have never visited the website I would encourage you to do so.
15 “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 redeeming the time because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
Read more at Speakuptm.com.
What Does it Mean to be Saved? How Can I Know I am Saved?
Time to wake up and read the bible