Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Word of God—Your Necessary Life-Book! ~ by Elizabeth

Think about this question for a moment. What does God’s Word, the Bible,  mean to you personally? When you hold it in your hands, and flip through it’s pages, do you feel uplifted by it, and view it as your guidebook for life, or does it make you feel bogged down by the fact that you don’t understand it or do not spend time in it? I have been in both circumstances. A few years ago, I would often try to read the Bible, I even read through it once, but I never seemed to get anything out of it. My mind would drift to other things. Then the Lord began to convict me, through church, conferences, school and my small group, that the Bible needed to be my guidebook for life, something that would govern how I thought about the world. I soon became more dedicated to digging into the Word every single day, no matter how busy I was. Soon, I began to eagerly seek its pages for everything. Every day the Lord seemed to have something new to show me, or to point out in my life. The Word began to change me. I began to memorize Scripture, because I felt it was crucial to hide God’s Word in my heart (Psalm 119:11).

This desire to read God’s Word and be in it does not, however, come overnight. It is a gradual process that the Lord places inside those He has chosen. The Bible is His book, He wrote it! 1 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and
for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” I like to explain that verse as the “back page description” of God’s Word. Most books have a description of what they are about or what they teach. This verse does that for God’s Word. So how should God’s Word be to us, in light of its back page description?

When you read God’s Word, remember that it is unlike any other book in the world. It is the most historically accurate ancient book ever written! The Lord has kept His Book pure throughout the centuries, so that today we can have His Word. During the Old Testament, God revealed His Word to His prophets, and then they would tell the people by mouth. Today God’s Word is written in our own language and we can freely have it with us all the time. God’s Word is our life-book. Our worldview should be seen through the lens of the Bible. We can’t just want the Bible. No, we need the Bible. It is our foundation, our starting point, as Christians. The Bible is the most precious item you can ever own. It is a library full of books! I live very close to a library that has a coffee shop attached to it. Sometimes I’ll go there, find a good book, get a mocha and curl up in a chair to read. I like to imagine my times with Jesus in His Word like that. You choose a book to read from the Library of all libraries, the Bible. Then you enter your coffee shop, which can be your bedroom, your living room or anywhere that is somewhat quiet, and you see your Best Friend waiting there, ready to read with you. It’s so easy for us to be able to go out for a cup of coffee with our friends, how much better it is to sit down with the Best of Friends and read His Book!

Remember, Jesus longs for us to spend time with Him in His Word, and He will reveal Himself to you in that time (James 4:8). He is your Best Friend, and when you spend time with Him studying the book He wrote, there’s nothing better
in the world! However, this is often easier said than done. In my life, some things that have helped me to find joy in reading God’s Word are:

1. Pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Before you dig into the Word of God, always remember to pray. Tell Him what you want help with in life, or ask Him to reveal His power, might, love and gentleness to you. Praying before I read His Word helps me to see things in myself that are convicting or moving, and things in Him that are amazing, perfect, and full of power. Then those thoughts follow me as I go throughout the day.

2. Have a focus (Joshua 1:8). For example, it can be helpful to find a reading through the Bible program, or a theme to study. As you read, you can journal about what you are reading so that it truly sinks into your mind and heart. There are many good ways to read, just ask the Lord to help you decide, and be confident that He will direct you – The most important thing is that you are reading His Word!

3. Don’t go at it alone (Hebrews 10:25).
God’s Word is a complex book, because it is your life-book. Therefore, it is powerful to have accountability when you read it, or you will become overwhelmed. Choose someone you can tell daily about what you are learning in God’s Word. That person can be a parent, friend, sibling or relative! Then in turn, that person can tell you what they are learning, and you can benefit from each other in reading God’s Word together.

4. Don’t get discouraged from reading the Bible because you never seem to 
find the time (1 Corinthians 3:16). The Lord is always with you, and He won’t love you less if you do not always find time to read His Word. If the Lord has put the conviction for you to read His Word on your heart, then be confident that He will help you find some special time for you to spend time with Him in your days. I encourage you to start small. Even five minutes of spending time in His Word will help to start your day off well, and help you to keep your mind focused on Him from the minute you wake up, to when you go to sleep.

5. Talk about it (Acts 1:8)!
Jesus commands us to be witnesses for Him. That does not only mean that we talk to unbelievers all the time (although that is also crucial for us), but it also means being a witness for Him to each other, as Christians. Let Him sparkle out of you wherever you are! When given the
opportunity to talk about Him and His Word, take it! He will give you the strength you need (Phillipians 4:13).

6. Memorize (Psalm 119:11).
There may be a day in the future when we will not be able to have the Bible with us physically all the time. We may find ourselves in a situation where a loved one is hurting, and you want to comfort them with a verse. In that time it will be crucial for us to have stored up God’s
Word in our hearts, so that in those dark times we can be encouraged with the Word, and encourage others with it.

Finally, remember 2 Peter 1:19-21 which says, “And we have somethingmore sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in
your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” We, as Christians, have something that the rest of the world does not have, a book written by the very Creator of the universe. Make sure as you read that you do not interpret God’s Word in a way that is contrary to its real meaning. God wrote it perfectly the first time, it needs no human additions.

As Christians, it is often easy for us to just let life fly by, and not find time for the book that was written directly to and for us by the One who knows us better then anyone else. The Library is full of books, and the Coffee Shop is full, except one seat, yours. Sitting across from you is the One who holds the universe by the Word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). He pushes a book towards you, and opens it, looking at you with gentle eyes that have spanned eternity. You glance at your chair. My challenge to you is, will you take it?

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