You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous… Psalm 139:13-14
As I read my Bible this morning, I came across a verse in the Book of Luke that caused me to pause. When this happens, it reminds me of a record player when the needle gets stuck in a groove and keep repeating the same words or melody over and over and over.
It’s at this point that I have a choice to make. Ignore the prompting to reread, and move on, or stop to reread and ponder.
When it comes to Bible reading “they” say, “you have to cover “X” amount of chapters, verses, etc., and stick to your Bible reading plan. If you don’t, you’ll never finish reading the Gospels, or the Psalms, or the Old Testament, etc. And you’ll certainly never finish reading the entire Bible.” It’s at this point that I ask myself, who’s “they” anyway??
I approach reading the Bible a bit differently. To me reading the Bible is similar to talking with someone on the phone, texting, or meeting for coffee. It’s all about the relationship. It’s not a one-way conversation, it’s the sharing back and forth of feelings, facts, experiences, hopes, etc., between two people. How silly it would be if I met someone for coffee and whipped out my “thoughts” list, and started rattling it off? And then, when I was finished reading my list, I’d get up and walk out the door?
When you see the above scenario in writing, it seems ludicrous. Who would ever ask to meet a friend for coffee and read off a list? Not to mention walking out without saying goodbye, or thanks for listening. Yet, how often have we, myself included, interacted this way with God?
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve sat with a friend, started on one topic, and ended up touching of several others before the first cup of coffee was finished. Or when a comment said in passing, turned out to be discussed in-depth. When I meet up with friends I don’t have a checklist. I’m getting together with them to catch up, and share what’s been going on in our lives. If we just talk about what happened today, and never get to last week or next week, who cares. This is what we needed, or wanted, to talk about now.
For me, this is the kind of relationship I have with God. So when I’m reading the Bible and get the feeling I should pause and reread. I pause and reread because I know that God has something to share with me. I ask Him, “what are you trying to show me? What do you want me to learn, to take with me today, to share with others, to change?” I also thank God for encouraging me in a particular area, where I am on the “wise path”, and thanking Him for all the blessings and provisions He gives me day in and day out. I read with anticipation, eagerness, and appreciation that the Creator of everything wants to talk with me. That He cares about me, and He loves our time together.
2 Timothy 3:16 says, All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. Sometimes God gives us a warning, sometimes encouragement, and other times redirection to get us back on track.
As Hebrews 4:12 says, The word of God is living and active… God wants to talk to us. He wants to help us with our daily struggles. He wants to bring us back to the safety of the “wise path”.
I once heard a pastor at Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa say, “it’s not how often or how much of the Bible you read, but that you live out what you’ve read. Don’t just read the Bible to finish it, read the Bible to change.”
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