When Howard Rutledge was a little boy in Sunday School, he never imagined that the memory verses he learned would one day be vital to his survival. He grew up and became a military pilot, married, and had a family. He never renounced God, but he began to enjoy life his own way. His faith slipped away, and he stopped attending church. In 1965, his plane was shot down over Vietnam, and he began to pray for the first time in twenty years. Soon he found himself wounded and alone in an enemy prison cell.

In his book, “In the Presence of Mine Enemies,” Mr. Rutledge describes how he lived a nightmare for seven long years in captivity. Although he hadn’t been living like a Christian, suddenly his deepest craving was to find comfort in the words of Scripture. He and his fellow prisoners spent hours of every day trying to remember the Bible. They pieced together every little scrap possible, and many times those words were the only thing that made their miserable lives bearable. When he remembered the verse, “Thy word have I hid in my heart” (Psalm 119:11), he lamented that he had not memorized more of the Bible when he had the chance.

This story hurts my heart for all the people in the world today who don’t have easy and free access to the Bible. I have multiple Bibles at my fingertips any given day. I memorized many verses as a teenager. I am blessed with a constant flow of rich Bible teaching in my church.

I can say with my words that I am thankful for the Word of God, but do I truly feel a desperate need for the Bible? Do I cling to it like it is more necessary than food? What if tomorrow I only had the verses I know by heart?

Prayer: Lord, help me to recognize every single day – in the best times and the worst – that the Word of God is my greatest treasure. It is a great comfort to know that the powerful Words of God will go with me wherever I go if I carry them close to my heart.

Devotion by Kristi Moore

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