For Christmas, Carl gave me a Nintendo DS Lite…I love playing word games and have a growing Sudoku habit. Courtney gave me a Brain Age game cartridge to go along with the hand held console. This particular game has a number of games that are designed to check your brain’s age. By performing different games, you are assigned a brain age…When I first started my age was 80…and the ideal is 20. Now I am much closer to my own age about 3 years below my current age of 43. The game exhorts that you should do daily training so that you can improve your brain age and your skills.
I laugh each time I “log” onto my personal data screen…the moderator will greet me and if I haven’t played in a couple of days…he will tell me how much he missed me…so much so that he thinks he will cry because he is so happy to see me again. After each particular category of game is completed, the moderator again will exhort me to play regularly and as I improve, I should try more difficult settings. There are certain times when I complete a given game with a minimal of mistakes or in a very quick time of completion. Again my moderator will tell me what an outstanding job I have done…and the water works begin again…he is so proud of me.
There are graphs and all sorts of screens that record my data to show improvement or what I usually see…maintaining the status quo…
The books First and Second Timothy were written by Paul to Timothy and contain a wealth of instruction and encouragement to this young man in the faith. You could say that Paul was Timothy’s moderator…exhorting him in his walk. Listen to what Paul says about the value of training:
“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. “
I Timothy 4: 7,8
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
II Timothy 3: 16
The author of Hebrews adds:
“But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
Hebrews 5: 14
My concordance defines training…to teach so as to make fit or qualified. Just as in a very trivial game, if I train often and consistently…I will make improvements…The Word says that I should train myself in godliness…the intake of the Word will aid in righteous training and by regular training I will develop the ability to ingest and digest solid food. This past week, I spent some time in Genesis and the story of Noah has just not left my head.
How many times have I read this account…how many times have I read the story to my children…just last week Caleb and I sang about “Who built the ark…Noah…Noah…Who built the ark…Brother Noah built the ark…or our current favorite…”The Lord told Noah there’s gonna be a floody floody, the Lord told Noah there’s gonna be a floody floody…get those children out of the muddy muddy…children of the Lord…so rise and shine and give the glory glory…etc…”
The story of Noah seem so familiar but this time I read it slowly and I was touched by a few aspects of Noah’s journey:
· Noah was in his 500’s (doesn’t that sound funny) when he became the father of 3 sons.
· God was grieved that he had made man on the earth and his heart was full of pain (ouch) because He saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become and that EVERY inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil ALL the time.
· Noah was surrounded by wickedness yet he was not swallowed up by its presence.
· Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
· The Word says Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time and he walked with God.
· Following God’s instructions he began and completed building an ark…a huge sea vessel (my Bible says the ark was the length of one and half football fields and as high as a four-story building)…and the Word says he did everything just as God commanded him.
· Noah was 600 years old when he entered the ark…Noah spent 10’s of years building the ark.
· Noah and his family were in the ark for 1 year and 17 days…for 5 months, the ark was floating and for 7 months, the ark was sitting atop Mount Ararat.
· The first thing Noah did when he exited the ark was build an altar to the Lord and worship and it was a pleasing sacrifice to the Lord.
· Noah lived another 350 years after the flood.
Noah walked with God…he was righteous…he was blameless…he found favor with God…he did everything that God told him to do…his life was characterized by training over the long haul. We often hear of the patience of Job…but what about the patience of Noah…the long commitment to obedience despite the detractors…despite fatigue…despite the magnitude of the task at hand. When I think of God finding favor with Noah…it reminds me of one of my favorite verses:
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
II Chronicles 16: 9a
God looked over all of mankind at that time and found only Noah and He set out to strengthen him for the redemptive works that He had in mind. We aren’t told the details but God must have continued to whisper in his ears from time to time…
“You’re doing great Noah…keep up the good work…don’t give up…you can’t see it now but it will all be worth it…you have My Word on that!”
Whatever you are facing today…it may seem as obscure as building a water vessel in a land that had never known or seen rain…it may seem daunting. You may be surrounded by those who do not call on His name…at work…in your neighborhood…in your extended family…in your marriage…It may feel like you have spent so many years of your life reaching for what you felt you heard correctly from God…but you are still waiting…
But listen…I can hear Him whispering to you…to me…
“You’re doing great my dearest one…keep up the good work…don’t give up…you can’t see it now but it will all be worth it…you have My Word on that!”
We have an amazing Moderator that wants us to pursue righteousness…He beckons us to take that long committed path of obedience despite what it appears to cost us in this life…He is ever-present to strengthen us as He surveys His creation…and He wants to meet us daily. I bet He does want to cry when He doesn’t see us for awhile but I have it on good authority that He sings at that very thought of us (Zephaniah 3: 17) and can you image the great rejoicing when we make progress in our training…no graphs or charts necessary.
Let’s train hard…let’s train long…let’s train with patience and courage…let’s not give up despite our current vision and present realities…let’s be a people that are quick to fall to our knees in worship just because God is God…
The journey is made…day by day…hammered nail by hammered nail…quiet time by quiet time…trial by trial…triumph by triumph…step by step…
Let’s train together!
P.S. Join me each Monday for a recap of the gems uncovered as I progress through the Cover to Cover Chronological Bible Reading Journey…feel free to join me…