Anything but Boring

 

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Where are you with the Bible? Perhaps you’ve tried to read it and just haven’t connected with it. Or maybe you simply didn’t know where to start. On the other hand, you could be that person who has gone to Bible studies for years, and yet your interest in it has grown a little stale. Perhaps you’ve never had any interest in the Bible at all. When it comes to the Bible, we are all at different places. No matter where you are, my hope is that this book will bring you to a place of connection – connecting your life with the greatest book that has ever been written.

I was first introduced to the Bible when I was a little girl living in Detroit, Michigan. Yes, it was very cold (I mean the weather, not the Bible). We went to a church in downtown Detroit where our car was broken into more than once while we were attending services. The thing I remember most about the church was not the break-ins, but rather the kindness of our Sunday School teacher who gave us Bibles and taught us how to look up passages in the Holy Scriptures. She led me to memorize Psalm 23, even though the Bible was completely new to me. This teacher sparked a love in me for the Bible and ignited a desire to get to know this sacred book.

As I grew through my teenage years, I found great comfort in the scriptures to help me weather the storms of life. As I went to college, the Bible gave me hearty doses of wisdom and direction in daily living. When I got married the Bible became my companion in working through relationship and communication issues. It taught me that God understood my feelings even when my husband didn’t! As a young mom, the scriptures reminded me that God was my strength and would give me everything I needed. It taught me to not worry, but rather in a very real way to cast my cares on the Lord. There were also times when I felt distant from God’s Word as the busyness of life choked out my interest. Yet, as I look back over my life as a whole, the Bible has been my steady guide, teaching me about God’s unfailing love for me.

There are some people who may think the Bible is irrelevant or doesn’t pertain to our lives today, but I’m pretty sure those people haven’t read it! What could be more relevant than a book filled with stories of people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, all reflecting the human condition and the desperate need inside each of us for love and redemption? The beautiful theme throughout the entire book is not how bad we are, but how good God is. Every page is infused with God’s grace.

The Bible is a book about messed-up lives and God’s unmerited favor. There is no other book on earth that conveys the abiding love of Almighty God toward His people. Why wouldn’t you want to read a book like that? Throughout the centuries it has given strength and inspiration to artists, businesspeople, authors, musicians, athletes, and world leaders. It has offered hope to the ailing in hospitals to the suffering on the battlefields, and to the starving in poverty. Yet, to be honest, true poverty is the “poverty of the soul.”

How sad to have all the comforts that life can offer, yet be empty or starved spiritually. The Bible is food to feed our hungry hearts, bringing fulfillment and nourishment to our soul. This is why we read the Bible—because like food—we need it for our very existence. It is filled with life-giving sustenance for those who hunger to know God’s grace and love. Cultural blogger Jim Denison wrote, “This hunger for the God of grace is universal. How could it not be? We were designed to need food, and will hunger for it until the day we die. In the same way, we were designed to need our Designer.” Yes, “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

 

My hope is that you will explore the truths of the Bible and get to know what it has to say about God and about you. I know you will find strength, courage and hope as you read and meditate on the inspired words on every page. Thomas Manton wrote, “We can never exhaust all the treasure and worth that is in the Word.”

 

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Matthew 24:3

 

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This is an excerpt from Karol’s book, Becoming a Woman of the Word. To learn more about reading the Bible and getting to know God’s Word order your copy today. For more info click here.

Taking Time to Know Your Father

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Isn’t it wonderful to think that we are invited to spend time with our Heavenly Father each day? How amazing to think that the High King of Heaven allows us to fellowship with Him through prayer and reading His love letters – His Word. There’s no perfect routine or formula when it comes to spending time with God. For me, I start off each morning with my journal, my Bible and of course a cup of coffee. I simply just sit still before God.

In my journal, I always begin by writing out at least five things I am thankful for from the past day. Without exception, I end up writing much more than simply five things, as I begin to recognize all the ways God has blessed me. I also deliberately thank the Lord for at least one challenge in my life, as I consider what God is teaching me through the difficulty. And I can sincerely thank Him for His presence and peace as I walk through those challenges. Another habit I have started is to thank the Lord for at least one thing about my husband each day, because it keeps me focused on his positive qualities and that’s always a good thing!

After I spend time thanking the Lord then I open up His Word, for a time of reading. He has given us His Spirit to lead us into all truth, so I begin by seeking His guidance. I invite His Spirit to be my teacher and open my eyes to new truths. Spiritual truth must be spiritually discerned, and we need God’s Spirit to lead us. I like how author Andrew Murray (1828-1917) wrote about the importance of encountering God’s Word with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit:

 

We must refuse to deal with the written Word without the quickening Spirit. Let us never take Scripture into our hand, mind, or mouth without realizing the need and the promise of the Spirit. First in a quiet act of worship, look to God to give and renew the working of His Spirit within you. Then, in a quiet act of faith, yield yourself to the power that dwells in you. Then wait on Him so that not only the mind, but the life in you, may be opened to receive the Word. The words of Christ are indeed Spirit and life.

          Murray added this prayer:

Lord God, I thank You again for the wonderful gift of the indwelling Spirit. Father, give me the Spirit of wisdom. May I know how deeply spiritual each word of Yours is, and may I know that spiritual things can only be spiritually discerned. Teach me in all my contact with Your Word to deny the flesh and the fleshly mind and to wait in deep humility and faith for the inward working of the Spirit to quicken the Word. May my meditation on Your Word, my keeping of it in faith and obedience, be in Spirit and in truth, in the life and in power. Amen.[i]

 

During my quiet time with the Lord, I use the One Year Bible, which offers a daily Bible reading with an entry from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs in doable doses. This daily time of meeting with God is a time to read and meditate on the Bible and pray. You may choose other times throughout your week to study and dig into the Bible (which we will cover in chapter three), but for a time of regular reflection and daily growth, I encourage you to simply read and meditate on His Word.

For me personally, I also enjoy reading a devotional in addition to reading from His Word. Devotionals should not replace reading the Bible, but can supplement your quiet time. Most devotionals take a verse and expand on it with the author’s perspective or thoughts. At times, I may use a book with short chapters as a part of my devotional reading, such as The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer or The Names of Jesus by A.B. Simpson, or The Spirit of Christ by Andrew Murray or Here and Now by Henri J.M. Nouwen. It is a healthy practice to journal and write out what God is teaching you, so that you can reflect on it again or simply to help you identify and remember what you learned.

After a time of reading, I sit still and simply relax in His presence. I may go to the atrium and slip to my knees and praise and adore Him for who He is. I reflect on some of His qualities that I learned about in His word or in the devotional reading and glorify His name. After praising Him for His wonderful attributes, I humbly recognize my own sin, so I spend time confessing and opening up my heart before Him. Again, I’m still and allow His Spirit to remind me of anything that I need to confess that was not pleasing to Him. After confessing, I honestly can’t help but thank the Lord for sending Jesus as the payment for my sin. My heart rejoices that the Father has allowed me to be a part of His family through faith in Christ.

It is important for us to pour out our concerns to our Father, because He doesn’t want us trying to carry our own burdens. His invitation is to ask, seek, and knock. Finally, I ask for His direction and leading throughout the day. It’s interesting how thoughts pop into my head about things that need to be accomplished or issues I need to address or even how to order my day. I write down the thoughts He brings to mind as I ask Him to direct my path.

So that’s how I come to the table with my Father. How about you? There’s no perfect formula, just the invitation to dine with Him. Let us not neglect such an inviting feast with the King of all glory. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

 

This blog is an excerpt from Becoming a Woman of the Word. Click here for more info.

 

[i] Andrew Murray, The Spirit of Christ (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1984), pp. 78-80.

 

Anything but Boring

Enjoying a winter day

Where are you with the Bible? Perhaps you’ve tried to read it and just haven’t connected with it. Or maybe you simply didn’t know where to start. On the other hand, you could be that person who has gone to Bible studies for years, and yet your interest in it has grown a little stale. Perhaps you’ve never had any interest in the Bible at all. When it comes to the Bible, we are all at different places. No matter where you are, my hope is that you will come  to a place of connection – connecting your life with the greatest book that has ever been written.

There are some people who may think the Bible is irrelevant or doesn’t pertain to our lives today, but I’m pretty sure those people haven’t read it! What could be more relevant than a book filled with stories of people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, all reflecting the human condition and the desperate need inside each of us for love and redemption? The beautiful theme throughout the entire book is not how bad we are, but how good God is. Every page is infused with God’s grace.

The Bible is a book about messed-up lives and God’s unmerited favor. There is no other book on earth that conveys the abiding love of Almighty God toward His people. Why wouldn’t you want to read a book like that? Throughout the centuries it has given strength and inspiration to artists, businesspeople, authors, musicians, athletes, and world leaders. It has offered hope to the ailing in hospitals to the suffering on the battlefields, and to the starving in poverty. Yet, to be honest, true poverty is the “poverty of the soul.”

How sad to have all the comforts that life can offer, yet be empty or starved spiritually. The Bible is food to feed our hungry hearts, bringing fulfillment and nourishment to our soul. This is why we read the Bible—because like food—we need it for our very existence. It is filled with life-giving sustenance for those who hunger to know God’s grace and love. Cultural blogger Jim Denison wrote, “This hunger for the God of grace is universal. How could it not be? We were designed to need food, and will hunger for it until the day we die. In the same way, we were designed to need our Designer.”[i] Yes, “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

As we enter 2016, let us ask God for a renewed hunger for his word and devote ourselves to getting to know the greatest book ever written.

 

This is an excerpt from Becoming a Woman of the Word. Click here to order your autographed copy and begin a journey of loving, learning and living God’s Word.

 

 

[i] Jim Denison, Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, www.Denisonforum.org, January 20, 2014 entry.