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Letters from Home: Threading the bobbin

By Rev. Ann Mann
annmann@comcast.net

Threading the bobbin for my sewing machine overwhelms me. My late husband Kim used to thread the bobbin for me when I wanted to sew something for a crafty project. No, I have to do it myself.

I pulled out my sewing machine this week to work on a crafty project. The project came to a screeching halt when my bobbin ran out of thread. Instead of trying to figure out how to thread my own bobbin, I went online and ordered a nice set of thread, complete with pre-threaded bobbins. The thread and bobbins come in a variety of colors.

Reading the Bible can be overwhelming for some people. Folks get accustomed to going to church and having the pastor read the week’s scripture and provide valuable insight. Or sitting in Sunday School or a Bible Study and having the leader “thread the bobbin” for them.

Listening intently to the pastor’s message, absorbing our teacher’s lessons, these are important in our spiritual development. Even so, I have found real transformation comes when I spend quality one on one time with the living Word of God.

If we aren’t taking time to let the living Word of God speak directly to us, we are missing out on the fullness of God’s grace. Lent is a good time to spend more time with God. To allow God’s word to transform our hearts and lives.

So, how do we read scripture for transformation?

It begins with a prayer that God would open our hearts and minds to His word in our lives today. An excellent prayer is found in Psalm 51, verses 10 and 12. “Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and put a new and right spirit within me… Restore to me the joy of your salvation and sustain in me a willing spirit.”

When we pray this prayer before reading Scripture, we prepare our hearts for transformation. Then, as we read our passage for the day, I recommend asking three questions. What does this tell me about God? What does it tell me about my relationship with Jesus? And if I truly believe this passage, how will my life change?

What God reveals to me, and what God reveals to you may be different. This is the beauty of Scripture. God meets us where we are and reveals what we need for this season in our lives. Something else to keep in mind. We may not answer the above questions in a linear fashion. Sometimes, the questions and answers merge together. And that’s okay.

In a recent sermon, I walked our congregation through these questions looking at Mark 1:9-15. In these seven verses, we are caught up in a whirlwind. We move quickly from the baptism of the Lord, to His temptation in the desert, to Jesus proclaiming the good news of the gospel.

These passages remind us there are times when God seems near, and there are moments when God seems far away. And yet, even in the wilderness, even as Satan tests and tempts, we learn that God sends angels to be with us.

There are angels among us, holding us up when we don’t know how we can take another step. So, as we read this passage for transformation, we remember that we will spend time in the wilderness. We will be tempted. But we are never alone. God sends angels to be with us. And if we believe what we read, we are challenged to be faithful. To trust God. To be that angel for those we encounter in the wilderness.
This is part of what God revealed to me about this particular passage of Scripture. I want to encourage you to pull out your Bible and read the passage for yourself. After all, no one can “thread the bobbin” for you! We may try to get by with pre-threaded bobbins. But in the end, real transformation comes when we are the ones “threading the bobbin.”

Ann Mann is an Emmy Award winning journalist, now serving as pastor to Barnesville First United Methodist Church. Her email is annmann@comcast.net.

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