Growing up I heard about people doing daily devotions and reading the Bible. They talked about how important it was to them and how much closer they felt to God. But when I tried it, the words fell flat. I picked verses at random, often just opening to a page, expecting it to speak to me. I wanted the Bible to be magic, containing some spell I could read to produce a desired effect. But I didn’t find magic. I found stories I’d heard a thousand times growing up to be uninspiring and much of the Old Testament seemed tedious and boring.
And then there were all the rules. All I saw in the stories was failure. I read over and over how people failed, how they could never please God. I found the words cold and condemning because I didn’t understand Grace. The Word can’t penetrate a heart with walls, a heart afraid of a God who can’t be pleased.
My fear kept me from connecting with the love of God contained on those pages.
But something changed when I came the end of myself, weeping in an ugly mess on my bedroom floor, and realized that God told us stories about our own failure so we could see His faithfulness.
The entire Bible is God’s loving call to surrender. He tells us stories of the many ways He has rescued humanity and broken, fallen people so we will trust Him. He gives us boundaries to live by to guard our hearts from evil. And He sent His Son so He could save us from the consequence of our sin – death and separation from our Creator.
I challenge us all to read the words with new eyes, with a new heart. Let the Spirit speak.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”Hebrews 4:12
The Bible isn’t meant to be something we go to only when we have a need, because if we’re honest, we always have need. Instead, it’s intended to be our daily bread, the food that feeds us in the day to day moments that aren’t so outstanding, but can be transformed when God speaks through His Word.
Bible reading builds a firm foundation for when our world is rocked. We will find the promises will come to mind in times of crisis and we’ll know where to find the passages that spoke peace into our hearts before.
God speaks the loudest for me when I’m in His Word. Specific passages confirm promises, deliver peace, and shout out conviction.
Any reading is better than none. And there are still times when I don’t understand. Now I just shrug my shoulders and either say to God, “I have no idea what that means” or “ God, please help me understand.”
Let’s open our Bible’s today. Read a chapter or an entire book. Find an unfamiliar passage from a place we haven’t explored before. Write down the words and verses that stand out.
Holy Spirit, open our understanding of the Word of God. Breathe new life into the ancient words. Let us meet you in the pages and find you in the stories. Speak to us and call us forward in your love. Empower us to take another step of faith toward You today. Amen.
Here are a few of the verses that have jumped out at me lately:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”John 14:27
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”Isaiah 43:12
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”Ephesians 3:20-21
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,Psalms 46:1-3
Though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”
“But you, God see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.”Psalms 10:14 NIV