Of Pens and Penmanship

Do you have a favorite pen? Pens can be personal. Some folks like the popular Big Grip Bics, with their rubberized finger grip and convenient pocket clip. Others prefer fountain pens, ball points, gels, rollerballs, marker tips, or even the elusive space pen, which writes upside down. For when, you know, you need to write in space and they turn the module on its head just as you need to jot down a note.

Pens are almost a thing of the past these days. They have been replaced by keyboards, thumbs, styluses, and talk-to-text. Think about it: when is the last time you used one for any length of time? I don’t even write down a grocery list anymore. I text a list to myself so that I can use my phone as I shop. Because of course, I always have my phone with me, unlike my written lists that I usually managed to leave at home or in the car.

Of course this now prevents me from the satisfaction I get from marking things off. There is no better feeling than looking at your “Do Today” list and seeing everything crossed through. Sometimes I even add something that I’ve already done, just to cross it off. That feeling of accomplishment is hard to achieve with a text to yourself!

As pen use falls away, so does good penmanship. I had to actually write something out longhand last week and I was appalled at my own chicken scratch. Writing by hand is something that requires daily practice. When we stop, it shows.

Which brings me to why we need to stay engaged in the scriptures on a DAILY basis. It really becomes a “use it or lose it” thing. Daily immersion keeps our spirits in tune with God’s spirit, and sets the tone for our daily thinking, responding, acting, and being. When we stop, we begin to disconnect and drift away from God.

Just as we need “daily bread,” we need a daily consumption of God’s word. Listen to how Jesus responds to the Devil’s taunting in the wilderness:

Matthew 4 The Message (MSG)

The Test

4 1-3 Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: “Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.”

4 Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.”

Did you notice that Jesus answered the devil with SCRIPTURE? It is our best weapon against the Evil One. But you have to know it to use it.

It takes a steady stream of God’s words to stay alive. That is why we do this. That is why opening up the Bible every single day is important. Without it, we would starve for wisdom, knowledge, direction, discernment, and purpose. And surely without those things our souls would die. Like manna in the desert, God provides. All we need to do is open ourselves up to consume it.

2 Timothy 3 (NIV)

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

So THANK YOU for your daily faithfulness in reading At Water’s Edge. Thank you for sharing it! We have reached almost 9,000 views since this began a little over 6 months ago, and have been read in 27 countries and locations including China, the Czech Republic, federal prisons in Georgia, Hong Kong, and South Korea. That has only happened because of your faithfulness in sharing it.

As we continue to read, pray, and equip ourselves and others every day, may the Lord add his blessing to the reading of his word. This is the WORD of God for the people of God! Thanks be to God.

Photo by Mary Watts.

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