Without sounding too much like a country and western song, I ran into an old friend of mine the other day. It was my first "serious" Bible stowed away for safekeeping. That is because it is now held together with a rubber band. Its cover is cracked, the binding is taped and many of the pages have frayed and fallen out.
There are others just like it throughout the world, but this one is mine.
It wasn't my first Bible, but it was the first one I loved.
I think it was my mother who gave me a copy when I was 4 or 5. It was this cute tiny palm-size version. I couldn’t read yet of course but it had some cool pictures.
There's no telling what happened to that book. I probably traded it for Silly Putty, Match Box racing cars or some other valuable commodity at the time.
Now, I think I won my next Bible in Sunday school for memorizing the books of the New Testament. I remember it had a picture of Jesus holding a little lamb. This "trophy" probably sat on my bookshelf in-between Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys for who knows how long.
My dad gave me a couple more Bibles in the "wander" years hoping I would crack them open some time. (Thank-you Jesus for praying parents. And grandparents, family, friends.)
Because waaaaaay back, I heard the truth and a seed was planted in my heart and one day I let go of pride and humbled myself.
The night I got born again an image of my Sunday school teacher telling us, “You can always call on Jesus,” rose up inside of me and I acted on it.
By faith, I called out to Jesus to know Him and He answered with grace. That is when I was reborn in the Spirit by the power of His Holy Spirit. (John Chapter 3.)
But the first seed, the gospel (good news), was planted with a word.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He (Jesus) was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it." John 1:1-5
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14
Even though the Apostle John is literally speaking of when God took on a human form, I can testify to the fact that when you read the Bible with your heart, and with the intentions of getting to know God and not just about Him, then the Word will take on flesh.
Jesus is alive and He will become more real to you. He'll speak to you from the pages, and His word will become written on your heart as you spend time and come to know Him.
I don't remember starting out with a set schedule of when I was going to read this new Bible. The only plan I had was to grow intimate with God and I believed I would find Him there. Some days I would read a few verses, sometimes more.
Gradually, things began to change; I began to change as I started renewing my mind and soon my actions and reactions were lining up with His word as the Peace of God ruled over my heart.
We spend lunches together, He advises me throughout the day about my job and relationships (and He is always ready to counsel me when I choose to get quiet and listen.) He is never far from my mind because I want to keep Him there.
The "trials" of life seem like only small matters now settled out of court as I begin to live out His instructions day to day. Impossible situations suddenly become possible and hope begins to build on top of hopeless foundations.
The Bible is God breathed and Holy Spirit inspired. Within those pages is the power to change lives.
It's a peculiar thing but as that old Bible fell apart I started becoming whole in soul and body.
Contact Brenda Groves at firstname.lastname@example.org