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Life comes with an instruction manual

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Have you ever just watched people?

I have heard people say they go to the mall, or sit on a park bench or visit the beach just to do that very thing — watch people. We think they are tired from shopping or waiting on someone who is shopping, but really they just said to themselves, “Hmmm, I think I will go to the mall and do some people watching. Oh, and get some giant Cinnabon thingy.”

Let’s call these folks “people analyzers.”

The reason people analyzers love to do their thing is because they think they can learn much about people by simply watching or observing their behavior. What they wear, how they walk, who they are with, what they carry, the way they fix their hair, or don’t fix their hair, their shoes — all pieces of data that people watchers formulate and analyze. And after the data collection, they draw some conclusions and suddenly know all about that person. Or do they?

I sometimes watch re-runs of a show called “Psych.” It’s a comedy with some great characters, but the lead character is a guy with amazing observational skills. He solves crimes by seeing, observing and ultimately connecting all the dots. He solves cases that no one else seems to be able to just because he has keen observational skills. I guess he is a people analyzer too.

Funny thing, though, sometimes he is dead wrong about his conclusions.

It can happen to the very best of analysts. They look, study, research, gather the evidence and then come to the wrong conclusion. Ouch.

It happens all the time. It happens when we speak our minds on something and end up being completely misunderstood. It happens when we experience something that everyone else is experiencing but reach a totally different conclusion. It happens when try to “keep up with the Joneses.” We buy a particular item that we hope will make us look better, happier, richer, stronger, but it doesn’t. (By the way, just because I drive an old, broken-down car that sputters when I crank it doesn’t mean I am actually old, broken down and sputter when I’m cranked, right?)

Well, before I go on and on, let me make a point that has eternal value. This world of ours actually has one thing that can analyze you and me and be accurate 100 percent of the time. It is accurate and actually quite liberating, because in its final analysis, you will always get the truth.

What is it?

The word of God.

I bet you knew that already. I bet this has a something to do with the fact that the Bible is the bestselling book in all of history. Nothing else comes close.

You see, “the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

I think this ability to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart is something we really want more than we can ever express. As a matter of fact, I think the heartfelt desire to be known, really known, is at the core of what we are really all about.

And God really, really knows you. He knows the thoughts and intentions of your heart. He knows what makes you tick, and he knows all that you were really created to be.

Amazingly, he knows you the best and still loves you the most.

Despite the observational skills that people analyzers have, they really don’t know you. Well, they do know that you didn’t fix your hair, but then again, for some of us, that’s just plain fun.

But remember this, Jesus knows you and loves you, and that is just plain fun — and so much more than that.

Why not dust off that Bible that your mom gave you, or stop by the store and buy one. Or call me and I will get you one. Get into the word of God to the extent that it really gets into you.

I think you will find that this journey we call life was never supposed to be taken without the instruction manual. Be sure to spend some time in the manual today.

Steve and Belinda Kirk write the “Everyday Grace” devotional for the Johnstonian News. Reach them at 919-449-5745 or