Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reading God's Word For Your Life

This week’s blog topic comes from Faithful Bloggers, a directory listing various Christian blogs.  You can visit their site at www.faithfulbloggers.com .

Do you have a love affair with books? Do you walk into a book store and lovingly caress the hard covers while soaking up the ambiance? I have a friend who views all unread books as potential friends. Is this you?

Maybe you’re more of an electronic person; absolutely hooked on your Kindle, Kobo or Sony e-reader and can’t wait for the next download! 

Maybe you’re like me. I’ve developed quite an attachment to my glossy, pink Sony e-reader but can’t give up completely on the hard copy book. An entire shelf of my bookcase overflows with books I’ve bought to read “one day”.  A number of books live on my Sony that fall into this category, too.

This brings me to another question. Of all the books you’ve read have you ever read the Bible cover to cover? And another question (more to satisfy my own curiosity to see if I suffer from a fear of not having enough – more on that in next week’s post)...how many Bibles do you own?

I’m rather embarrassed to say I own six copies, including the one on my e-reader; all in different translations. I’m not even going to mention the ones my husband owned before we got married because that throws the number of Bibles in our house way off the charts! Sadly in spite of all this ownership up until two years ago I hadn't read the entire Bible cover to cover.

 
This deficit in Bible reading certainly wasn’t from lack of available Bibles or from lack of trying. Many times I started a reading program at the beginning of a new year thinking, “THIS is the year I’ll stick to the plan and read the entire Bible!”

I’d focus on it for the first month, reading in bed. Too many times I’d wake myself up with an unattractive snort only to realize I’d fallen asleep yet again. I’d fall behind, get discouraged and eventually give up.

A couple of years ago I was working on growing my personal relationship with God. I was praying, asking Him to use me in His work when a vivid thought slashed across my mind, “How can I use you if you won’t even spend time in My Word?” Wow, did I stand convicted! That evening I decided it was time to take this Bible reading seriously. I pulled out the copy of "The Message" I purchased with good intentions a year earlier and started to read.

I didn’t work with a schedule. I didn’t let it randomly fall open hoping God would point out some life changing scripture. I simply opened the cover and started with the first chapter just like I was reading any other book. I changed my reading time. After dinner I shut off the TV and reached for my Bible instead. Soon I was looking forward to these relaxing, quiet reading sessions.

I don’t remember how long it took me to read through "The Message" the first time. I wasn’t on a time schedule. I was just reading and learning from God’s word. He spoke to me as I read and a number of times I found myself writing down thoughts and insights in a journal. Some of these thoughts even became messages my pastor encouraged me to share on Sunday morning at church.

Are you unsuccessful with your Bible reading? Stop pressuring yourself, approach it like you approach any other book. Open the cover, start in the beginning and read till you get to the end. You don’t need to read for a set period of time. Use whatever time you’ve got even if it’s only ten minutes at day. Eventually you’ll be surprised to find you’ve completed the Old Testament. One day you’ll finish the Book completely and want to start all over again.

Will you understand everything you read? No! But pray and ask God for wisdom and understanding. Surprising as it may seem, He WILL give it to you. Will there be sections that could potentially put you to sleep? Yes! Persevere! You’ll be amazed at the rich stories and history contained in this Book. There are stories of love and war, violence, hatred, reconciliation, failure, defeat and triumph. You’ll read of men and women of incredible faith and people with great trust and hope for the future.

I could go on and on but it's best to experience it personally. You'll find your faith strengthened, changed, and renewed. Post your comments below – Have you read the Bible from cover to cover? What works for you?


2 comments:

dianehenders said...

I own three Bibles, two King James versions and a Living Bible. I've read through it cover to cover twice, once in the Living Bible, and once in King James just for comparison ('cause that's what geeks do).

Carol Henders said...

I'm right there with you in the geek factor, Diane. I read The Message and am now reading the New Living Translation. Geeks of the world unite!