Pastor's Piece for January: Voracious

"Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” (1 Peter 2:2)
     Gizmo was left on the back porch again. He wasn't there when I got home, but I knew he'd been there. There were take tell signs. Oh, and what a tale those signs told. I had left a new bag of cat food on the porch. New, as in I had just bought it. New, as in the bag wasn't yet opened. New, as in it was ready to use once the old food was gone.
     So, what did I find? The new bag of cat food, now open in numerous places. And how had it been opened? Hungry paws with hungry claws. Food had fallen out from the slashes and gashes made while no one else was looking in the effort to satisfy a hunger that never ends.
     Some would say my cat has a bottomless pit. A more telling term would be "voracious." The cat has a hunger that he will seek to fill at any given opportunity.
     So, how hungry are you right now? What will you reach for to fill you up? What about spiritual hunger? What do you reach for to satisfy your soul and fill you up? Do you want a nibble or just a bite? Or are you feeling more -- voracious? The start of a new year is a good time to restart study God's Word. Here are some suggestions for good feeding:
1. Begin with one of the Gospels. Too often people begin with Genesis and first try to work their way through the Pentateuch, only to get bogged down somewhere in Leviticus.
2. Next, check out the Epistles. These letters contain practical, God-directed advice for Christians. They are of varying lengths -- why not start with some of the shorter ones? You can begin at the end with Jude (the letter just before Revelation, the very last book of the Bible), and work your way forward.
3. Supplement with Psalms. Are you happy? Frustrated? Discouraged? Angry? There's a Psalm for that! Again, you don't necessarily need to go in order. You can start with the familiar (Psalm 23) and branch out from there.
4. Get the App. The ESV (The Holy Bible: English Standard Version) is available as a free app for Kindle and Smartphones. This recent translation is used in our Sunday readings and hymnal. The app from Crossway publishers is welldesigned and user friendly. The version with cross-references (also free) is especially helpful.
     Look at it this way -- instead of you messaging others on your Smartphone, you can let God message you in His Word! Finally, here's a prayer to accompany reading God's Word. It appears both in the Book of Common Prayer and in our own Lutheran hymnals. It's also a good prayer to begin this new year:
Blessed Lord, who has caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Joy in Jesus,
Pastor Wagner