Friday, June 26, 2009

Daily Digest #306

I rejoice at Your Word as one who finds great treasure. —Psalm 119:162

God sends out His message through different messengers, through His words and within our hearts to help us cope from day to day. We cannot rely on one's experience of enlightenment alone (this often leads to idolizing the person rather than understanding the message and applying it into our lives), or mere heightened feelings. God calls each of us to develop a relationship with Him. He wants us to know Him, just as much as He knows each of us. He freely offers His Words, if only we make time and effort to read (myself included for I allow stubbornness sometimes, and God just made me realize last night how dangerous it is to allow idleness in one's spiritual life). He wants us to discover that the Bible is indeed the story of our lives.

Before we can even share His Word to others (through words and the way we live), we ought to read and understand the Bible ourselves. Allow me to quote some testimonies from the attached reading ("How Can I Understand The Bible", pp.30-31):

The Bible Is Ours

Many people feel they won't be able to understand the Bible, no matter how hard they try. Bill and Gwen Petroski felt that way -- till something happened that opened God's way for them. Here's their story:

"One of the greatest blessings in our lives has been the discovery that we can read and understand the Bible for ourselves. You see, both of us were raised in a religion that did not emphasize the Bible.

"After we were married, we began a spiritual quest. We felt vaguely dissatisfied. We wanted our children to know God and to have Christian values. So we began to search.

"Then the day came when both of us received Jesus Christ as personal Savior. We began attending a Bible-preaching church and hearing the Word of God proclaimed. Gradually we realized that the Bible is ours and that we can read and study it for ourselves."

Gwen: "I still remember vividly the first time I read the book of Hebrews. One Sunday morning I read it through in one sitting. Tears flowed then, and still do now as I realize that all barriers between God and me are broken down, and that I have access to God."

Bill: "When I first read Ephesians 2:8-9 and understood salvation by grace through faith alone, I was filled with gratitude to God. This passage will always be one of my favorites.

"We know that the Bible is ours. As we continue to read and study It, It means more to us than ever before. We are trying to put its teachings into practice so that our four girls will see that it can be real to them."

These testimonies of Bill and Gwen highlight the thrill of discovering rich spiritual truth through persona Bible study. The Holy Spirit ministers to believers in a special way through the Word, but He also brings understanding to non-Christians who read it with a sincere desire to know God.

Carl Armerding told about an Australian sheepherder and his wife who came to know Christ this way. They began reading the book of Romans out of the old family Bible just to while away evening hours. After some time, the man said, "Wife, if this book is right, we are guilty sinners before God. We are condemned." As the conclusion of their reading a few days later, he exclaimed, "Wife, if this book is right, we need not remain condemned. A man called Jesus Christ took our punishment by dying for us. He's alive again, and He wants us to believe on Him."

Although these people had very little education, they were able to gather from the Scriptures the basic truths necessary for salvation. When they began reading the Bible, they found that it was for them.

The Bible is for you -- it's for everyone.

For this, let us pray. Lord, thank you for the gift of knowledge. We pray that our knowledge turns to wisdom. Please bless our prayer and Bible-reading times. Please help us discover the truth. Please guide our thoughts towards what is pleasing to You. We also pray for those who struggle to know You; may they witness Your love and grace in their lives -- in Your will and time. We ask these through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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