Your Own Orange Juice
Making Your Own Orange Juice
writes the following about driving with his family from Fort
Lauderdale to Tampa, Florida:
As far as the eye could see, orange trees
were loaded with fruit. When we stopped for breakfast, I ordered
orange juice with my eggs. "I'm sorry," the waitress said.
"I can't bring you orange juice. Our machine is broken."
At first I was dumbfounded. We were surrounded by millions of
oranges, and I knew they had oranges in the kitchen--orange slices
garnished our plates. What was the problem? No juice? Hardly. We were
surrounded by thousands of gallons of juice. The problem was they had
become dependent on a machine to get it. Christians are sometimes
like that. They may be surrounded by Bibles in their homes, but if
something should happen to the Sunday morning preaching service, they
would have no nourishment for their souls. The problem is not a lack
of spiritual food--but that many Christians haven't grown enough to
know how to get it for themselves.
Keeping your Bible study skills in good working
order is indeed a lot like maintaining the ability to squeeze oranges
to make your own juice. If you don't use the skill, you'll lose
the skill, and you may forget that you ever even had it (cf. Hebrews 5:12-14).
Here's what studying the Bible for yourself has
in common with making your own hand-squeezed orange juice:
You are sure of the source. When you are
brought a glass of orange juice at a restaurant, you have no idea
where it came from or what kind of oranges were used to make it.
Even so, when you merely read or hear what someone says about the
Bible, how can you be certain that God is the source? But when
you read the words of an inspired apostle or prophet for yourself,
you know that you are getting divine truth direct from the source.
In Ephesians 3:3-4, the apostle Paul points out that the Scriptures
he wrote came by "revelation" from God; he promises that
"when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery
of Christ." In 1 Corinthians 14:37 Paul declared, "The
things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord."
You know its purity. A lot of orange
juice that you buy is actually made from concentrate. Water and
other things are added to it. It's not really PURE orange juice.
A lot of so-called "truth" that has been reconstituted by
preachers isn't pure either; it has been mixed with human error.
But God's word (like fresh squeezed OJ) is 100% pure. The Psalmist
declares, "Your word is very pure; therefore Your servant loves
it" (Psalm 119:140). Proverbs 30:5 states, "Every
word of God is pure." We are to desire God's word in its
pure and unadulterated form (see 1 Peter 2:2).
You can take your time and enjoy the product with confidence.
Like enjoying a glass of fresh squeezed juice to the last drop, when
we study for ourselves, and know that we've got God's pure word, we
can savor it thoroughly -- like the Psalmist who said, "I will
delight myself in Your commandments, which I love. My hands also I
will lift up to Your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate
on Your statutes" (Psalms 119:47-48).
It takes work. Squeezing oranges by hand
is a lot of hard work; so is studying your Bible for yourself.
In all reality, that is why a lot of people do neither. It's
too much work. But if we want juice and truth that are from the
right source, 100% pure, and can be enjoyed with confidence, we'll
put forth the effort. "Be diligent to present yourself
approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly
dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).
My hope is that none of us will forget
how to squeeze oranges or study God's word for ourselves!
Establish Your Hearts
James 5:8 - "You also be
patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at
hand." This is very good instruction for those who want to spend
eternity in heaven. But just exactly what should you do to
"establish your hearts?"
Receive God's word (Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23).
Jesus relayed this parable to His disciples to teach them about the
various kinds of hearts that exists within men. To make sure they
understood, he explained the parable as well. We can see from His
explanation that there are way-side hearts, too hardened to ever
receive God's word. There are stony hearts, which receive God's word,
but have no commitment. There are thorny hearts which receive the
Word, obey it, but fall away because they allow the cares of the
world, deceitfulness of riches and lusts of other things to take
precedence over following God's commandments. Then there are good
hearts, which receive God's word gladly, commit themselves to obeying
it fully, and teach it to others. Is your heart a good heart?
Love God (Matthew 22:37) - Once we have
received God's word in a good heart, we must develop a love for God
because of all the things He has done for us. He gave us our very
existence. He has provided all we may need to sustain our physical
lives. He has given us His word which we need to sustain our
spiritual lives. He gave us His Son so that we might have the
remission of our sins. Truly, He first loved us! Do you love Him?
Sanctify God in our hearts (I Peter 3:15). To
sanctify is to set apart as special. The church of God in Corinth was
made up of those who were sanctified in Christ Jesus (I Corinthians
1:2). In speaking to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:32, Paul said
that God "is able to build you up and give you an inheritance
among all those who are sanctified." Just as he has set us apart
from all others and made us special, God should be set apart and made
special in our hearts. Is God special to you? Can others tell that He
is special in your life? Are you prepared to give a reason that God
holds such a special place in your life and why you carry the hope of
heaven with you?
Let the word of Christ dwell in your hearts
(Colossians 3:16). God has given us His word to prepare our hearts.
We are to allow it to dwell within our hearts. In Deuteronomy 6:4-12,
God told the Israelites through Moses that His word should be in
their hearts, it should be taught diligently to their children, it
should be spoken of in their houses, when they are walking by the
way, when they lie down, and when they rise up. His word should be as
a sign on their hand and frontlets between their eyes. And it should
be written on their doorposts and on their gates. In Jeremiah
31:1-34, God speaks of days that would be coming during which He
would put His law in the minds of His people and write it upon their
hearts. This is speaking of you and me today. He does this because
His word is profitable to us for doctrine, reproof, correction, and
instruction (II Timothy 3:16-17). We then should "&ldots;give
attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine . . .meditate on
these things . . . (I Timothy 4:13, 15). Does Christ dwell in
There are various other instructions
found in God's word concerning establishing our heart for the coming
of the Lord. God has left it up to each one of us, individually, to
make this preparation (Philippians 2:12). But, He has not left it for
us to do alone:
"Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself,
and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting
consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish
you in every good word and work" (II Thessalonians 2:16-17)