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Word of God

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“Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45, English Standard Version).

My morning reading of the Bible has been somewhat different this week. I have read the same chapter every day. It’s fairly short, only twenty-nine verses, but I haven’t made it to the end of the chapter yet. Perhaps I will get there in a few more days. Why has it taken me so long to read a few verses? It is so rich with so much to absorb, and it’s easier to do it in small bites.

We each probably have our own way of reading the Word. You may follow a Bible reading chart, have a goal of so many chapters per day, or randomly select a passage. I like to do all of the above. I follow a chart, but I also enjoy reading random portions of Scripture. A chart gives me structure and insures I read the entire Bible through. When I’m “off the chart,” I discover interesting stories, passages that make me seek deeper meaning, or a verse that speaks to where I am at that exact moment.

How I study the Word isn’t anything profound but let me tell you a few of the things I do (or don’t do). You will no doubt develop your own study style.

  • I do not speed read. My goal is to understand more, not zip through so I can check off a box on a chart. If a verse seems unclear to me, I stop and read it again. And perhaps again. Sometimes reading a cross reference (printed in a center column or sometimes underneath the verse) will help.
  • I keep pen and paper nearby. I jot down insights, questions, or other verses related to what is being said. If I don’t have time to dig deeper right then, I can come back to my notes later and search it out.
  • I use a Bible app for quick research. When a passage is unclear, I often find it helpful to look at one or two other translations. A Bible app allows me to do this quickly. I can also look up the meaning of key words in the passage. Or I can do a word search to find other verses on this topic (such as: faith, patience, love, grace).

Yes, some Bible passages are difficult or (dare I say it) boring. Chapter after chapter of “begats” does not make for exciting reading, but I plunge on. Often, even in these passages I find sweet nuggets of inspiration. If nothing else, I remind myself if God knows all those names, He knows mine too. I matter to Him.

I was in a Bible class when a fellow student asked the teacher, “What translation of the Bible do you recommend?” The quick response was, “The one you will read.” We may own a stack of Bibles, but it is only when we open it and start reading that the Word goes deep into our hearts. It’s our source of instruction, hope, and encouragement.

“For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures” (Romans 15:4, Christian Standard Bible).

Prayer: Lord, give me a deep, abiding love for Your Word. When I hide it in my heart, it keeps me on the right path so I do not sin. Increase my understanding and open my eyes to the wisdom it offers for my daily life.

 

“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29

Recently a friend and I were talking about Heaven and discussing how the Bible does not really give us all the information we would like to have about what life will be like after death. Most of our conceptions of Heaven come from the songs we hear and sing about it. I am sure that the writers of these songs were inspired to write what they did. But the Lord in His Word has just given us a little insight into what heaven is like. There are some things that are secrets to Him.

This year I have been doing my daily Bible reading from the New Living Translation and I like the way this verse is rendered:

“The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instruction.” Deuteronomy 29:29 NLT

Moses was giving the children of Israel his last instructions before he would be taken from them. He told them that the Lord did not reveal everything to them, but that they were accountable for what he had revealed. As Moses repeated the laws and requirements that the Lord had given them, he made sure that they realized they had a responsibility to follow them fully.

The Lord has revealed so many things to us, the plan of salvation, and the way to be ready for heaven. We are accountable for the things he has revealed to us, that He has shown us in His Word. We know that if we obey His instructions, we are part of His body, and will spend eternity with Him. No matter what our concepts of Heaven are, the main thing is that we will be with Him.

Prayer: Jesus we thank you for the things you have revealed to us through your Word, and we look forward to spending eternity with you in the Heaven you have prepared.

Devotion by Anne Johnston

“And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:4)

Growing up, most of us read fairy tale stories. There are stories of princesses saved by their heroes, stories of mythical creatures and lands, etc. Some of us loved reading those type of stories and maybe even read them to our children. While reading these books, maybe you imagined yourself a part of the story. Maybe you imagined yourself doing things or going to far away places. You became a part of the story, the fable.

The Bible, to some people, has become like the fairy tales. When they turn from God and the Truth, they start believing what is written in the Bible is just made up stories, just another fable. They don’t want to believe that God truly exists. He becomes like the fables in the stories – made up.

When this happens, the Bibles becomes just like any other book on the shelf among all the other stories. The Bible is no longer sacred and holy to them. Just like a fairy tale book is forgotten over time, the Bible is not read anymore.

Has the Bible become just another fable to you?

Stay in God’s Word.  Read it every day. Don’t let His Word become another fable to you.

Reading the Bible daily is how we hear God’s voice and know He is not just another fable. When we stay in His Word, we won’t stray from God or the truth.

“In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). God has always been and always will be. Don’t let God be just another fairy tale in your life.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, please help me to know that you are real. Don’t let me believe You are a fable. Help me, every day,  to stay in Your Word and Your Truth. Amen!

Devotion by Mishelle Nally