Reading The Bible
As I wrote in Preparing Your Heart, reading the Bible was much easier for me than prayer. Having something
tangible to hold did help, as did having an agenda with my reading. Most people start in the beginning in the book of Genesis, but I always read the end of a book to see if I want to
take the time to read the whole book. I started closer to the end of the Bible, reading in the New Testament book of Luke, one of the four accounts of Christ’s life.
I spent the first 6 months of my reading in Luke. It amazed
me how Jesus interacted with people. . . how He handled situations so much differently than I would. I knew He was fully God, but I also
saw Him as a real person, living through the same frustrations and stresses that I was living. With every page that I read, I was challenged all the more to follow His example and try to
live more like Him.
After awhile I realized that in the middle of the day God would often remind me of a passage that I had that morning. At first
it was usually after I had handled a situation or said something that was the opposite of how Christ would have responded. God was showing me my sin and prompting me to confess it to Him.
Although God continued (and still continues) to point out sin in my life, He also used His Word to guide me throughout the day. Sometimes a passage
would warn me about something that I would face either that day or sometime throughout the week. I began to see that my Bible reading was
more than reading about God and His working among men. I considered it a personal conversation with God as He guided me, prepared me, corrected me, and most of all taught me.
I was amazed that the Bible was so relevant for my life. Worried that I’d forget what I was learning, I started marking up my Bible in the margins.
There was so much I was learning. I wanted to make sure that I would be able to go back and find verses on a particular topic so I started a list in the back of my Bible.
One of the best thing I did was a study on the attributes of
God. In the back of my Bible was a concordance. I started looking up words like power, love, and forgive. After the individual
word, there was a listing of verses that had that particular word in them. I would look for references to God in the particular verses and I kept a running list of
the attributes and the passages that referred to them. I became a sponge. . . I couldn’t learn enough about God . . . and about how He wanted me to live.
I spent about a year reading through the book of Luke and doing a study on the attributes of God. During that time I happened to run across a verse that
gave me a new challenge. It says,
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we
might have hope. (NIV Romans 15:4)
I realized that the verse was referring to the Old Testament. I had spent a lot of time in the New Testament, but had read very little from the Old
Testament. I wanted to better understand the many references in the New Testament that referred to Old Testament passages. I decided to read
through the entire Bible, cover to cover. I started in Genesis and kept reading until I reached the last chapter
of Revelation. It was so exciting to read the stories of the many men and women that Jesus or the writers of the New Testament had referred to. But the most amazing
thing was that all the way through the Old Testament, I saw it pointing to the coming of Jesus and to what His life and death would accomplish. My journey was just beginning!
When I made the commitment to spend an hour a day with God I never could have imagined what an incredible journey it would be. I was searching. . .
for a love that would satisfy all my needs,
for a purpose worth living for,
for fulfillment that was beyond what my job, money, my family or friends had to offer.
And I found all I was looking for and more in a relationship with Jesus Christ. I am convinced that He will do the same with anyone who is willing to take
the time, to make the effort to know the God of the Word through the Word of God. If I can learn and grow, anyone can.
When I started my Bible studies, I knew just enough about God to be able to talk like I knew Him, but I certainly didn’t live like a Christian. The hour a
day that I spent with God has radically changed my life. For God is faithful to His Word. . . and He is faithful to His promise in Jeremiah 29:13, which says,
Won’t you please choose to deepen your relationship with God by spending time with Him in prayer and reading His Word?
By the way, there have been days that I have missed my time with God. But, I have made it a habit to “commit to re-commit” and God has honored
that by drawing me closer to Him today than when I started!
By Reading God’s Word