Saturday, April 24, 2010

Make It a Tool

Isn't it amazing how the proper tool makes the job so much easier?

I like to change out the pictures that hang over my fireplace, depending on the season. I have a beautiful, winter woods picture that I just love - it has our western Michigan, line-planted pines, with the sun peeking through as it sets...or rises, I guess. I also have a great fall landscape, which captures the changing colors of autumn. Right now, I have a great flower garden hanging over the mantle. It was painted with a knife so the paint is clumpy and thick - so beautiful! Makes me ready for spring.

The pictures are different sizes, however, so when I switch out the paintings, I have to move the screw which they hang on from either the higher anchor or the lower one. So to get the job done, I need my tall ladder and a philips screw driver. Pretty simple and the job is done in about thirty seconds. But if I tried to make the change without the proper tools, say a hammer and one of my kitchen chairs, I doubt I'd pull it off.

The key to making the job easy is the proper tools.

And I might add, the purpose of tools is to repair something, change something, install something or make something better. In other words, you use tools to improve the current situation.

Since my teaching wrapped up recently, I have had a personal project that I am just about finished with - it's one of those things I have been putting off, but it needs to be done now. My current Bible is falling apart and though its content needs no help, its framing is shot. So I have been transferring my notes from this current Bible into a new one. I have done this several times in my life, and though it initially seems like a hassle, it's actually a lot of fun.

Here's my process: I gather multiple colored highlighters and a good pen, and then go page by page, transferring the notes from one to the other. Each color has a specific meaning - yellow is endtimes, orange is counseling, pink is sovereignty, blue is favorite verses and green is...well, green is for verses with special meaning. Some people think I'm crazy for taking the time to copy notes - I mean the scripture is what is important and inspired, right?

Well, to me God's word is a tool. It is life's tool. God has given it to us to help us through life - to repair relationships, to change our attitudes, to mature us and make us more like His Son. Without this tool, life is unbearable! Can you even imagine life without the Word of God? Bottom line, His Word improves our current situation, no matter what situation you find yourself in.

Unfortunately, many believers don't know how to use this tool. It sits on the shelf of their proverbial garage and because they don't understand its use, they never grab it and use it. Yesterday, my girlfriend Jackie and I were preparing food for my kid's after-prom party at our pool. She was going to cut up tomatoes and onions, and when I handed her a cutting board and a knife, she went over to one of my drawers and pulled out a contraption that was given to me years ago that I have never used. Three minutes later, everything was chopped up and in tupperware and I just stood with my mouth open. Here I had this tool, didn't know how to use it, and all these years it could have made my life so much easier!

That's the Bible for so many people.

I guess my encouragement to you today is to look at your Bible as a tool. Remember, to use tools takes effort, but the tool itself makes the project go smoother...easier. When I am counseling, I don't have to remember exact references because I know that the passage I am looking for is in Galatians. So I flip over there and find any orange verses and before you know it, I've got what I was looking for. A tool.

As I finish up my transfer project, I have to admit, it has taken me longer than necessary, because I am enjoying so much the totality of the Word. So many treasures are hidden within the pages of this great tool! So go out to your garage and grab that tool off the shelf and start messing with it - before you know it, it will be filled with notes and stars, highlighted colors and exclamation points. Put in dates and smiley faces - just make it personal and you'll be amazed for years to come how this tool can make your life easier.


  1. This is something I've been putting off. My Bible is falling apart and a friend gave me a new one. Same translation but a different format. I'm so used to being able to remember passages from where they are at on the page. I just need to get on with learning the new format...sigh...

  2. Great encouragement!! Its so easy as life gets busy with spring and summer activities to let the greatest tool in our lives to sit on the table untouched, there fore we are not prepared to face the new seasons with new outlooks gained from our Lord!!!

  3. So I started transferring my notes over to my new Bible this afternoon. You are right, a most enjoyable project. A question, have you found a brand of highlighter that doesn't bleed through?

  4. The ones I use aren't too bad (Bic Brite Liners) but I think they all bleed to some degree...

    Yeah, I am not as far as I had hoped to be because I am hanging out in the Word too much...good problem to have...but my thoughts are everywhere! I'll tell Dave something and then twenty minutes later I'll make another comment (based on my note-exchange) and he'll be like, "How did you get from Samson to Ezra that fast?"