What a day we live in! I have been thinking of late how we forget that the Bible was written to be a guidebook for us, to help us, to encourage us to teach us, yet often it is the last place we look for wisdom and for strength. I think back to when I first became a Christian at the age of 21, not having grown up in a Christian family, once I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and was introduced to the Bible, the words would jump off the pages and I would be so into what I was reading there would be nights when my head would fall asleep with my face right in the Bible! Twenty-nine years later I am chagrined at thinking how it has become difficult to find the time to read the Word of God and how, especially at this time in history it is the answer to so many of the questions we have because it is very much the LIVING Word of God and as the Bible says:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:17)
Also it is spiritual food for us and I have found myself discouraged, depressed, depleted and anxious when I don’t take time to read it. It is spiritual food for our soul. It was written for a purpose and the purpose was for us to grow in our relationship with Him.
The fascinating thing I have found is how as I have grown in my walk with the Lord what I have read has been stored within my heart. Reading the Word of God helps us to hide his Word in our heart and often time we don’t even know that is occurring until a scripture just jumps out in our minds! I get tickled by this because it is the Holy Spirit bringing forward a word of encouragement to my remembrance when I am praying for answers.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding, in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” (Proverbs 3:5).
The Bible is also a map for us. I was thinking this week about the days of Noah, how often we forget that that is a TRUE story, one that can be applied to our lives today. As I have thought about the world today and how many do not choose to follow God’s Word or believe it I think about examples of such times as are written in the Bible. The people in Noah’s time thought he was insane. Building a boat when there wasn’t any rain. They laughed at him. They mocked him, they made fun of him, they went on living, working, marrying, carrying on with their lives (such as we do today) not heeding God’s warning or Noah’s words. Then the day of rains came. Can you imagine the shock and horror of the people when they realized that all along what Noah had been doing was right? It was too late! The world hasn’t changed. The Bible talks about the days to come, yet still we go through life not believing, not giving it much thought that what God’s Word says will come to pass. Just as in the days of Noah. Just as in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Even as a Christian I can see my own faults, weaknesses and sins before me. It is so easy to get discouraged – especially during the times when God feels so far away. Ol’ Slewfoot and his dominions would have us really believe that God IS dead. That He is not concerned with us, our needs or our lives. He would have us doubt God’s promises and turn away. He would have us be discouraged or disheartened. But the TRUTH of the matter is that God LOVES us. That He is NOT dead. That He is very much alive. That He CARES. We live in a day and age where people are looking those of us who are Christians and struggling and they mock us and laugh at us and wonder WHY we would serve a God who clearly makes us suffer. And sometimes, as a cancer survivor who is struggling to make ends meet for my family – I DO question God. I ask Him WHY. When it seems like what is such a big problem for us is a little “ant hill” to Him. WHY doesn’t He just alleviate the difficulty I have. WHY do I go through the things I go through when I have a Father who could just snap His fingers and take away my burdens like He was flicking a piece of lint off His shoulder and honestly there are times when I rage and I cry before Him and I ask Him, “Lord HOW do you receive the glory in my being burdened by A,B,C??? Why won’t you help ME??? Your Word says, “If I being evil give good gifts to my children how much more so will you help ME?” (Matthew 7:11) There are times when I cry out to Him, “Abba Father!!!!” And He seems quiet. He seems distant and far away. That is when the scripture promise I cling to:
“I will never leave nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
And I have to remind myself that regardless of whether or not I understand what I am going through. The Bible also tells me:
“The steps of the righteous are ordained by God.” (Psalms 37:23)
Remembering that my righteousness is NOT my own – that I have been made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ – who loved me enough to die on the cross for forgiveness of my sins.
I know without a doubt within my soul – that also as the Bible says:
“He is the way, the truth and the life. The ONLY way to Heaven.” (John 14:6)
“The peace that passes ALL understanding.”(Philippians 4:7)
You see? In reading His Word, I have hidden such scriptures in my heart. The faith part comes with BELIEVING them. STANDING on them. Holding FAST to them. Not to go by my feelings – but to know that my Heavenly Father cares. He’s There. The Word also tells me:
“He is an ever present help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
“The lifter of my head.” (Psalms 3:3)
I can trust Him. He knows what He is doing. Jesus even said:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)
We are living in a time where we have to choose who we are going to believe. satan or God. We have to decide who’s voice we are going to listen to. It is NOT easy. It is so easy to feel as though God is far away – especially when we look around at ALL the things that are going on in the world. There is NO common sense anymore. There is NO common courtesy. Even Christians are not living and walking in the manner that God intended them to walk. The Bride is NOT ready. We have become wordly – and we need to ask God to forgive us and to help us be ALL that He intended us to be.
The Bible talks about the days to come. The last days.
“People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2nd Timothy 3:2 – 3:5)
It is SPELLED OUT right on the pages of the Word of God. So WHY does it come as such a shock to us when we hear about it in the news, when we see it happening right before our eyes? When we find OURSELVES acting in a manner that does not glorify God?
When I look on my life over the last 29 years of being a Christian. My answer to those who see me struggle as a cancer survivor, a divorced woman raising two of her three children on her own. My answer is – don’t look at ME. Look at HIM. I am not IN this life because of what God can do for me – although daily I hope He will help me with the burdens I carry and the things I go through in life. But the fact of the matter is I love Him and have become a Christian not for what he can DO for me, but for what He has DONE for me. He died on the cross for forgiveness of my sins. He made a way for me to be able to enter into a relationship with God the Father because of His obedience. He made a way through His shed blood for me to be able to go to Heaven when I die. NOT because of anything I have done but because of WHAT HE has done. I am in it because I love Him. I am in it because I trust Him – even when I rage and have temper tantrums. I am in it because I know that His Word (regardless of how in frequently I have taken time to read it myself of late) is TRUE and the Words written in God’s book – The BIBLE WILL come to pass regardless of those who think is nonsense. Just as in the examples He has allowed those God inspired men He used to write it, write it for us to read. He wrote it as a love story for us – so that we would be encouraged. So that we would SEE how MUCH God love us. The choice (which he also gave us – free choice) is OURS.
As you look out at the world and the things that are occurring around you – what will YOU choose to believe? Where is your hope? How do YOU go forward in life in a world that often times seems as though it is growing darker and darker. (It is…) But if you read the same Word that I read – you will be encouraged to know that Jesus said:
“He is the Way, The Truth and the Life.” John 14:6)
We only need to walk in it… I’m going to continue trying – how about you?