God Almighty communicates with us in many ways. One way is through His Word that has been preserved for us in the Bible. This one collection of words, words from our Creator, has the answers to life. The Bible is a love story from God to us, his children. The Bible is on one level an owner’s manual on how we are to live life here on Earth. Many have read the Bible, cover to cover, multiple times.
The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Am I just reading words on a sheet of paper, or am I trying to drink in everything that God has in store for me with His Word?” Many times we have read a portion of Scripture over and over and it was like it was just a part of a great story but nothing really stood out. Another time we may read the same portion of Scripture and it really speaks to us; it’s like the light comes on. We wonder, “Why haven’t I seen this before?”
In my work with men and women who were working on recovering from different addictions and mental health issues, I have continually been drawn back to two core Scriptures. The depth of both of these Scriptures is presented in a clear and easily understandable fashion by one author, Max Lucado. I highly recommend that every man reading this column try to add two books by Max Lucado to their go-to library and to their Real Man’s Toolbox. These books are “John 3:16 – The Numbers of Hope” and “Traveling Light – Releasing the Burdens You Were Never Intended to Bear – The Promise of Psalm 23.”
Both of these books, and the verses that they expound on, bring out the core of Scripture, and that is God’s Love for us. In the John 3:16 study, one of the key elements that Max brings out is that, “There is nothing that we can do to make God love us any more, and there is nothing that we can do to make God love us any less.” God loves us unconditionally, 100 percent, regardless of our performance. He loves us because we are His creation. Many times He loves us despite what we do or say.
In Max’s study on the 23rd Psalm, he develops thoughts on The Luggage of Life, and the Burdens of a Lesser God, Self-Reliance, Discontent, Weariness, Worry, Hopelessness, Guilt, Arrogance, the Grave, Grief, Fear, Loneliness, Shame, Disappointment, Envy, Doubt, and Homesickness. All of this from one Psalm.
There is so much that we can extract from very short portions of Scripture, if we will take the time to do so.
A couple of the burdens that Max writes about are burdens that almost all men face at one time to another. One of those is the Burden of Weariness. Max brings out that for us to be healthy, we must rest. He says, “Slow down, and God will heal you. He will bring rest to your mind, to your body, and most of all to your soul.”
Along with Weariness, many men face a level of Hopelessness on the journey of life that we are on. Max points to the fact that, “Jesus doesn’t give hope by changing the jungle; He restores our hope by giving us Himself. And He has promised to stay until the very end. ‘I am with you always, until the very end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:20)”
Many of us men find it difficult to take the time to really examine God’s Word, or to read books from individuals who have done so. We come up with all kinds of excuses for why we can’t accomplish this task. Here is another way to look at this; God created us for one purpose, and that was to have a relationship with Him. When you are in a relationship with someone, communication usually takes place. There are many ways for communication to take place between us and God. We usually do a very good job of letting God know about our needs, wants, and desires. However, a good relationship, an intimate relationship, is the result of two-way communication.
Many times we do not take the time, effort, and energy that we should on being still and seeking what God would like us to hear and experience from Him. God doesn’t force Himself upon us. He is eagerly waiting for us to come to Him. We have to choose to have a relationship with Him, and choose how close that relationship will be. God loves us so much that even though He knows the truth, and knows what is best for us, He doesn’t force that upon us.
The Bible is a Love Letter to His creation, His children, those who were made in His image. This collection of words on paper is definitely worth our time and energy to discover the complete message that our loving Heavenly Father has for us. Men, I don’t want to sound trite, but we need to hunger after God’s Word more than we hunger after a good apple fritter, steak, milkshake, muscle car, or firearm. God loves us and wants us to love Him. He is waiting for us to open his Book that He has written to us and for us.
Throughout the Bible, God is communicating one simple, but at the same time, complex message to us: I LOVE YOU!
Leo Hellyer is a non-staff pastor with a local church and has been married to his wife Norma for more than 45 years. The couple volunteered with the Boise FamilyLife Ministry Team for 20 years. They are both employed by Boise Rescue Mission Ministries, Norma at City Light Home for Women & Children and Leo at River of Life Rescue Mission. Leo is also the President and Chief Firearms Instructor with Helping Hands Firearms Training LLC. If you have questions about Real Man’s Toolbox, or need other assistance, Leo may be reached at [email protected] or 208-340-5544.