It is late in the afternoon, or bedtime has come and there is a deep sense of frustration as we look back on the day.

Everything has gone wrong, even things which often have been easy have been hard, while unexpected problems have brought with them a sense of aggravation and futility.

A harsh word has led to unpleasantness, even with a dear one. The people with whom we work have seemed unusually irritating and the daily task has been a burden, not a pleasure.

The news has been bad and the outlook for the future seems unusually foreboding. Some incidents of the day have struck home with unusual force and one approaches the remaining hours with a deep feeling of dissatisfaction.

That this is a picture of the cultured pagans around us is often obvious. But why did this happen to me, a Christian? We know that it is far more than the trite saying that we “got out of the wrong side of bed.” Nor can we blame it on a feline of midnight hue which crossed our path on the way to work; or the ladder we walked under. We may have spilled the salt at breakfast, or passed a funeral procession, or been the victims of any one of a thousand other silly superstitions.

Down in our hearts we know there is something wrong inside, something we have missed, some turn we have taken to the left when we should have gone to the right, some intervention of the vagaries and perversities of human nature of which we have been the victim.

What has happened? What is wrong? Remember, we are speaking to Christians not to pagans, to people who should know better but who so often live as beggars when they should live as kings.

The trouble is that no proper foundation has been laid for the day, no turning to the Fountain of Life, no drinking from the wellsprings of eternity, no use of the means of grace God has made available to all who will look to him.

In other words, a Christian who starts his or her day without first turning to God in prayer and to his Word for truth and guidance has taken the sure step towards a day of frustration and ineffectiveness.

Many Christians live lives devoid of power, purpose, understanding, security, assurance, and victory because they are starved for spiritual food, and such food is not found in the daily newspaper or in the casual conversations of normal daily intercourse.

Why do we presume to walk without a lamp to guide our feet, a light to lighten the way?

Why do we go on in willful sins when our hearts may be fortified by the Word of the living God?

Why do we settle for inward chaos when for the asking we may have the peace of God which passeth understanding?

Why do we look at the panorama of unfolding history and cringe in fear at the things we see coming on the earth when it is our privilege to know and rest in the God of history?

Why do we walk blindly, stumbling over the adverse circumstances of life when it is our privilege to walk in the conscious presence of the God who gives light and understanding?

Why do we perversely insist on our own way when we should know that such a course may be the way of death while there is a certain way which leads to life eternal?

Why do we often complain against the providences of God when in those acts we find his perfect will and his unlimited blessings for us?

Has the god of this world blinded our eyes? As Christians surely not! Then what is the matter? The answer is clear and the way is sure. God expects his children to take advantage of privileges open to no one else, namely, to live by his wisdom, his power, his guidance, and in the light of his loving favor.

When the day goes wrong, things turn sour, and we find ourselves no longer conscious of the joy of our Lord in our hearts it is high time to stop and take inventory. The Holy Spirit will show us that the fault lies within us, for God has neither forsaken us nor has he voided his promises.

Engaged in an unending battle with the enemy of souls we have but one weapon against which he cannot stand—the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Strange how we seem willing to remain ignorant of what God has said! Strange that we are willing to start even one day without the comfort, hope, and guidance that can be found in Holy Scriptures! Strange that we will start out to do anything without first talking to the One who sees the past, the present, and the future all at one glance and who holds all in his loving hands!

To those who say, “But I do not understand the Bible” the reply is, “Of course not.” But when Christ enters our hearts and the Holy Spirit sheds on heart and mind his illuminating power the mere words of the past become the glowing written Word of the living God, supremely relevant for today and geared to our immediate needs.

Living in a dying world order, a transient speck in the panorama of eternity, men need the steadying and clarifying truth of the God of eternity, a perspective which takes the unseen into account, the heavenly rather than the temporal.

We also need something better than the frailties and fallibilities of human wisdom and speculation; we need something which is certain in the midst of uncertainties, something which is revealed from heaven rather than merely that which man himself can discover.

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The Apostle Paul, writing to his spiritual son, Timothy, said: “And that from a babe thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Are we neglecting the Scriptures today? Is our “Bible reading” done with a hasty and undisciplined mind and life? Do we approach it as a fetish, or as an Aladdin’s lamp thinking that there is a magic which may do us good?

Or, do we recognize that God has spoken and that it is our privilege and duty to find out what he has said?

The Bible is not a book on which we sit in judgment. Rather it is a book which speaks to us in clear and unmistakable terms, judging us in every thought and motive. Here we find doctrine (Christian truth), instruction in righteousness, reproof, correction, and above all else, God’s revelation in the person of his Son.

To start the day without the help God is so anxious to give is to court disaster. To lean upon our own understanding is to walk in darkness rather than in the light. To neglect the Bible is to live in ignorance when we should be living in the way of divine revelation.

We owe it to ourselves and to our profession as Christians to follow the example of the Berean Christians who “examined the scriptures daily,” taking them for what they are: God speaking to man.

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