Green Aeroplane

Which wing is most important?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Using the Flight Manual

Now we are in the plane with our Captain. He again checks the basics of the plane's structure. He places His special manual, the
Bible, in our lap. He looks out the cockpit window at our Bible wing. 'Looks a bit thin', He says. He looks kindly at us as we fumble with His book. 'Do you know how to read and use it?' He asks. 'Knowing and using your flight manual is essential for sustained flight, and everything I say to you - the words I speak to you in this Book, are spirit and life.' (John 6:63 2 Timothy 3:16.))

We sit and think about it. By now we have a user-friendly version of the Bible with print big enough to make reading easy.
Then we check what we know about reading and understanding the Bible for ourselves.(2 Timothy 2:15.) We could ask ourselves these questions:

How often have I opened my Bible today and read it?
What part of the Bible am I reading and why?
Am I reading a Gospel regularly so I can get to know the Lord Jesus better?
Or am I reading an Epistle so I can learn how to be a Christian; how to behave and grow in the fruit of the Spirit; how to witness and learn what the Gospel is 1 (Peter 2:2).

Or am I in the Old Testament, reading Genesis about Creation, or Isaiah about the coming Saviour? Or Psalms for encouragement and comfort?

Which books of the Bible have I never read?

Sidlow Baxter, a preacher and teacher of the 1950s, said 'to get to know the full person of Christ you need to read the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation. If you only read your favourite portions you only see the Lord's hands or feet, not his whole person or Godhead.'

Anywhere in the Bible is good to read, and even in some of the 'hard' books the Holy Spirit can help you get something out of it (Jn 14:26). The important thing is to read some of the Bible every day and ask it questions to help you understand what you read.

One way to get an understanding of the Bible is to ask it questions. Take the portion you are reading today and ask:

Where is this taking place?
Who is speaking in these verses?
Who else is there?
Is this message for me or for the people of the day, or for both of us?
Is there a sin to avoid?
Is there a promise to pray for my situation?
What can I learn about the character of God or my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ?
Is there a verse to memorise and share with others or pray for others?
How does this apply to my life and situation?
Is there an example to follow?
Is there a command to obey?

Ask the portion you are reading any question you can think of - the answer will be in the Scripture - if not where you are reading it will be elsewhere. Get a concordance and look it up or ask another Christian to help you. If you have a cheap version of the Bible you won't mind marking verses that really stand out to you. Some folks use a paper-friendly marker pen for this, others make a mark by the verse. I get a pen and mark the verse number. I keep a better Bible free of marks for showing truths to others - less distracting. Our Bible is a work manual. It contains the words of life and much necessary life instruction,(Hebrews 4:12.)Use it as students use their text books. Read it, study it, memorise it,listen to it, and meditate on it. Meditation means think deeply about a verse or passage with a view to applying it to your life.

Another question to ask is, do I feel near to the Lord Jesus at the moment or far away? In Philippians 4:4 he says, 'Let your gentleness be evident to all the Lord is near'. If we feel distant from the Lord, guess who moved! Somehow. we have gone to the back of the plane and are not by Him in the cockpit. To get back up front and near the Captain keep your nose in His manual, the Bible, and talk to Him daily.

But what do you say to Him when you are in His company? More next time.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Pre-flight checks

Before pilots get into their planes they walk round and check the fuselage, propeller--if there is one--wings, tail, rudder and wheels. They also get engineers' reports. And they go through an extensive pre-flight check list before they take off. Besides the lives of their passengers, their own lives are dependent on the state of the aeroplane.

We too must frequently check the state of our spiritual plane. So let's do a Spiritual Check List before flight.

Note: when we see a verse reference like John 3:16, that means look for the Gospel of John in the New Testament section of the Bible. Look for chapter 3 and verse 16. The index at the front of the Bible will tell us what page to go to to find the Gospel, and some Bibles show us what the standard abbreviations are. Like Jn for John.

Now our spiritual check list:

Is there any sin or disobedience blocking my relationship with God?If there is I need to deal with it. See Isa 59:1-2, 1John 1:9.

Are we in touch with the Lord Jesus (our Captain) on a daily basis? Allowing Him to lead and guide us as Lord of our life (Isa 48:17-18). The founder of the New Zealand Navigators, Joe Simmons, always told us, "If Christ is not Lord of all He is not Lord at all."

Do we have fellowship with God's family regularly? (Heb 10:25).

Is our daily prayer life strong and vigorous? Do we pray for others (1 Timothy 2:1-4)? Do we see God answer our prayers (Jn 15:7)? Ask yourself, "When did I last have an answer to prayer?"

Do we share our faith and the Good News of Christ, our Lord and Saviour, with others,or are we keeping it to ourselves (Acts 1:8)?

Is our faith increasing? How can we get faith (Romans 10:17)?

How is our intake of the Word of God, the Bible? Do we drink deeply of the Water of Life or just take a sip now and then? Or only once a week in church (John 6:63, Joshua 1:8). We need daily, personal nourishment from the Bible to grow in our Christian faith. In Asia we would say "Eat your own rice!" In the West, "Eat the food on your own plate!" Don't rely on other Christians to feed you (Jeremiah 15:16).

Is what we read and mediate on and pray over changing our behaviour and character so that we are becoming more like Christ (Rom 13:14)?

There are other checks we could do, but we have checked the wings, the wheels, the engine and our relationship with our Captain. Take a few days to think over the checks and if you think there is anything wrong with your aeroplane, ask the Captain, the Lord Jesus Christ, to tell you. Fix it up and then we can get in the plane and do the pre-flight cockpit checks.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sticking on the wings

Which wing shall we stick on first, the Bible wing or the Prayer wing? Maybe a little of both. Two stubby wings are better than one and keep the plane balanced. Another thing we musn't overlook is the wheels. If they aren't pumped up and greased we can't take off . Let's check first to see if we are in the plane, and how we got there.

When we first heard of Christ, someone opened the Bible and told us what the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, sent from God His father, had done for us.

He died to pay the penalty, or sentence, on our sins. He was buried and rose again from the dead to offer us forgiveness and a new, full life. He said if we believe this we cross the bridge from spiritual death to spiritual life (John 5:24). Our part was to talk to God and say that we were truly sorry for all the wrong things we had done, called sin, (Romans 3:23), and to accept the Lord Jesus into our life as Lord and Saviour. We also thanked Him for what He did for us. Jesus came into our lives as he promised. (Revelation 3:20.)If we have done this then we can be sure we are on the plane. Now where to from here?

What we did that day was listen to or read the Bible, and talk, or pray, to God. That is the first step in becoming a Christian, and it is the pattern for continuing to grow in our new life as a Christian. The growth of our wings had started. Little stubs appeared on our green areoplane. To make them grow longer and stronger we need to read the Bible every day and pray every day

'But,'I hear you say, 'I dont know how to do that. 'The Bible is a hard book to read and I don't know what to say to God. And why do I need to?"

While I get the next blog ready, open your Bible and read 2 Timothy 3:16 and Daniel 6:10-11. If you don't have a Bible, borrow or buy one. Get a version that you can understand and with print that is easy to read. There are many to choose from. A paperback version will do. It is easy to carry and doesn't cost much. Then come back and we will talk some more.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

How many wings does an aeroplane need?

Of course it is obvious. Aeroplanes need two wings to fly; even the 'Flying Wing' plane has two sides to it. Two wings keep a plane flying. Gives it lift. Yes, the rudder and tail help too!

When I gave that seminar to a group of women, I used the green areoplane to illustrate two vital skills. Everyone who is a Christian learning to follow Christ needs them.

I asked the audience as I waved the green aeroplane aloft, "Which wing is the most important?"

"Easy", they said, "Both."

"Right. So why do we Christians often leave the wings off our spiritual plane? Or have one large wing and one small wing?" I touched the wings on the green areoplane."Can you guess what the two wings represent to a Christian?"

Silence. No-one was willing to stick their neck out. I held up a Bible and said, "The Word of God (the Bible) and, clasping my hands together, "Prayer." "Ahh!"they said.

Without reading the Bible for ourselves, and talking to God every day, we will remain wingless on our spiritual runway. Our aeroplane will go nowhere and we will wonder why our life as a Christian doesn't seem to work. Maybe together we can figure out how to stick the wings back on our planes so we can get off the runway and into the air.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

How Come the 'Green Aeroplane' Title?

Well it's like this....In our lounge I have a small green plastic aeroplane sitting on the dresser. It's not fancy. Not a Concorde (which I love), or a Stealth Bomber ( which I also love), just a chunky, green plastic aeroplane. I found it one day in a bargin bin in a second hand shop. It was on it's side, one wingtip buried in an old-broken toy, the other pointing forlornly up to the sky. It seemed no-none wanted it until I came aong. And I did want it. I was looking for a small toy plane that I could use as an illustration for a seminar I was to give.

Like the hand of God I reached down and picked up the abandoned toy. It was a lurid green but solid. It wouldn't crack or break and it was the right size. Perfect for my purposes. I wasn't sure about the green colour but there was no other so I took it and now I use it frequently. In these Green Aeroplane blogs I will tell you what I use it for. See you next post.