"Seek ye out of the book of Yahweh, and read"

Isa. 34:16


Several years ago I pondered what one attribute I wanted most for myself. My sure answer came quickly and clearly. I wanted to be strong - physically, morally, emotionally - but most of all I wanted to be strong spiritually. I still seek that for myself.

The answer to getting strong physically for me was to exercise, drink plenty of clean water, and eat only wholesome food.

Sis Jane Roberts wisely wrote:

"A state of robust health is impossible if a sister is within doors the whole time. Consider that the life is in the blood, and that the blood depends upon the air for its purity and vigour…If sisters were aware of the advantage which results from a walk in the open air, … they surely would make greater efforts in this direction."

Sis. Roberts advised that if time is scarce, even a fifteen minute walk outdoors every day would do much good. I first read the 'Virtuous Woman' over 35 years ago, and the older I get, the more I see the wisdom in her words.

A walk outdoors, or better still, a hike in nature is my favorite exercise, which is very conducive to meditation. I love to sing hymns while I walk, taking in even more fresh air. Hiking is also a great time to carry a small card in your pocket of verses to memorize. If you have children it would benefit all of you to take a walk every day. Take your dog too if you have one. Even if you have to shorten your stride to a child's pace (Gen. 33:13-14), the exercise outdoors will still be healthful. I have found that children love to sing while walking, and the singing often quickens their steps and lifts and soothes their spirits.

Sis. Roberts continues: "She will, in the matter of going out, have to be very determined; for she will frequently have to encounter obstacles, in disinclination, and in the many claims of household matters requiring her attention; and if she give in, she will soon find herself in the weary valley again."

Drinking lots of clean water was easier to implement than choosing to eat only wholesome food, especially with the overwhelming availability of deceitful and dainty, fast and processed foods around these days. For me, it boils down to the more the food is touched and tampered with by man's hands (including my own), the more the original God-created goodness is destroyed. I remember reading somewhere that the most wholesome recipes require only two steps: wash it and put it on the table. With every added step, the intended goodness declines.

One thing I am absolutely sure of, spiritual strength (which brings moral and emotional strength as well) can come only by the daily careful reading and meditating on God's Word (the ultimate in clean water and perfect food!).

"Ye are clean", said Jesus to his disciples, "through the word which I have spoken to you." This word, which is defined to be "the law and the testimony", is the great instrument of holiness and purification. It changes men's minds; loosens their attachment to earthy things; causes them to place their affection on things above; creates a new and right spirit within them; diffuses the love of God abroad in their hearts; separates them from sinners; leads them into Christ; and develops in their lives, fruit characteristic of that repentance which needs not to be repented of." Bro. John Thomas, Elpis Israel

My dear sisters, how have you been feeling lately? What are you reading, thinking about, talking about and/or watching these days?

Like our bodies, our minds thrive on good food and clean water, and spend time processing and digesting what we feed them. What we feed our mind influences who we are as well as our emotions and energy levels. What are you feeding yours? Feed your mind exactly what you would like it to produce more of!

It is not possible to develop the mind of the Spirit apart from the daily reading and study of the Scriptures. If we desire to grow strong spiritually, we must "Desire the sincere milk of the word, that we my grow thereby." Apart from the Word there will be no strength, no growth, no hope. It's that vital.

Bro. Roberts stated in his introduction to the Bible Reading Companion that "salvation depends upon the assimilation of the mind to the Divine ideas, principles, and affections exhibited in the Scriptures."

A sister dedicated to the daily reading of the Bible can set a life saving standard in the home. Whether she lives alone or in a large family, she can by her example make the daily reading of the Word a natural practice in the home. Come what may, the readings come first.

I know how hard this can be. If you are stubborn about anything in your life or your loved ones lives, make it your first and foremost determination to read God's Word daily. If life's circumstances crowd out the reading time for everyone else around you, stick to your commitment to read daily.

Many find a set time for reading helps. The first thing in the morning is best for many, when our minds are alert and our bodies energized. If the scriptures are read in the morning, they can be taken with us and meditated on throughout the day. However, due to varying schedules, many families read together in the evening. When tiredness interferes with our attention in the evenings, we have to try even harder to focus on the readings, or even move to a less comfortable chair or position if that will help. It is better to read tired than to not read at all.

Even if your family reads in the evening, a sister can still read in the morning, or pick a portion to read to the children while they eat breakfast. I've found the Christadelphian Daily Readings Web Site very helpful in this regard. It provides helpful comments on the readings that can prepare you to contribute to the discussion after reading with your family later in the day or evening. For those chapters that contain names hard to pronounce, I like to listen to the chapters read on before the family readings. This has greatly helped my familiarity with pronouncing Biblical names.

Our family set time now is 7:15 p.m., although that set time has changed many times throughout the years. Whatever everyone else is doing in the house, we all join together at that set time to feed together on the "angels' food (Psa. 78:25)," the manna of the Word given to us from God. The more you feed upon this manna from heaven, the more you feel its power, hunger for it, need it, and love it. Conversely, if the daily Bible readings are neglected, it can only be because we feel no need for it, no love for it, no respect for its powerful effect on our hearts and lives. How then do we really feel about Jesus Christ? Can we really separate our feelings for Him from our feelings for the Word? He is the Word.

We must examine our attitude towards God's Word. God magnifies His Word above His very name (Psa. 138:2). Do we esteem His Word even more than our necessary food (Job 23:12)? Can we do without it on a daily basis, take it or leave it? Are we willingly forsaking it (Psa. 119: 53) and letting it fall to the ground (1 Sam. 3:19)?

"Without the daily reading of the Scriptures, and meditation thereon, there is no chance of success in the endeavour to put on the new man…Do not allow a day to pass without reading." (Sis. Jane Roberts)

Beloved sisters, we must commit or recommit ourselves to daily Bible reading.

"I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word" Psalm 119:16.