I often find such encouragement when I read my Bible. Honestly, this is a new thing for me. I use to look at Bible reading more as a chore. It was just another thing to check off of my Christian to do list.
Read a chapter or two from my Bible today. Check. Next?
But a while back, I felt convicted to really get back into God’s word in a more serious way. I love to read. You can almost always find me with a great Christian book. I’ve got a crate of them beside my bed. They are stacked in piles on my desks. My easily distracted self prefers to have a few of them going at a time so that if I hit a dry spot in one, I can stick in a book mark, and pick up where I’ve left off in another. I study these books. They are a wealth of knowledge. I love how writers have the ability to take lofty Christian principles and put them into terms that I can relate to and easily understand. The authors feel like friends to me. They just get me.
The book pages are pen marked. The pages are dog eared. The covers show wear because of their constant handling. I pack them to read on trips, tote them along in my purse, and keep them handy in case I have a few spare minutes to read.
Can you see how much I love them? On our trip to California last week I packed six. I was feeling ambitious and Heaven forbid that I not have just the right one to fit my mood. As a matter of fact, I spent the better part of two days alternating between the couch in a hotel bathrobe and my bathing suit on a lounge chair in the sun, all the while with a book. It was heavenly!
There are many books that I’ve read this year that I love! Some of my most well loved books sit on a desk in my kitchen because I enjoy referencing them again. I love to pick them up, turn to a page that’s worn and underlined, and find a nugget of knowledge that relates to exactly what I’m feeling or thinking or dealing with.
These books are so great! God has divinely spoken through some amazing authors and I’ve been so blessed by their work. Please don’t misunderstand me in this. I adore Christian authors and the way they put pen to paper to flesh out stories that truly speak to me!
But, I had let these books replace my time in God’s word.
The Bible was a little hard for me to understand. I just couldn’t bring myself to mark up these holy pages. I didn’t know how to study it. I didn’t think I could relate to it. The language and even sometimes the principles were lost on me, so I had set my Bible aside in search of easier reading.
Until about eight or ten months ago. I’m not really exactly sure of the date, but I remember the situation. I was struggling with the passing of my dad. It was brutally hard. I remember realizing that I was seeking wisdom, comfort, advice, and guidance from Man instead of God. And honestly, it wasn’t working out too well for me.
For some reason, it hit me like a brick, that what I really needed to do, was get back to God’s word.
It was the best decision I’ve made in a really long time!
I pray each day over my Bible. I pray that God will speak to me through His word. I pray for wisdom to understand His truth. I pray for the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to see His character and open my heart to receive His teaching. And I pray for people and stories that I can relate to.
I can’t honestly say that every time I open my Bible, I am awe struck by what I read. (Some of those genealogies are a little long.). However, I can tell you that God’s word has come alive to me in a way that I couldn’t have imagined before. Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and David have become like dear friends to me as I’ve studied the Old Testament. Their stories resonate with me in such a real way. We share some of the same struggles and I’m encouraged as I see God’s faithfulness to grow them and use them. I’m moved to tears by His unrelenting grace and mercy towards a people that continually fail him. I see a parallel there and am awe struck that He shows the same grace and mercy towards me.
This morning I littered the book of Ezra with underlines and notes. Who would have thought that I could relate so much to this man of God? Who would have known I could find so many answers to the questions that trouble me today in these pages penned so long ago? Who would have known that these heroes of the Bible struggled with so many of the same things that I do?
I just want to take a minute today and encourage you to go back to basics. Don’t give up all of the amazing books that God is using to reach you. They have an awesome purpose and are instrumental in our growth. But, turn back to that old black book too (well, mine is actually hot pink) and see what truths it holds for you. Find comfort, wisdom, encouragement, and guidance in its pages. Understand that God’s word is alive and active and still so applicable to us today. Ask the Holy Spiri to give you understanding and immerse youself in conversation with the Father. Allow Him to speak to you through His word. Find what you’re looking for there.
Love and blessings,