Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Adventures in Bible Reading


"I'm not reading my Bible like I want to and like I should, because it's just easier to watch TV and escape from reality," is what one young woman told me this weekend through tears and in the midst of grieving a loss.

And I could concur somewhat, though my "easy" mode of escape is typically flipping through the pages of a mindless magazine or walking around in TJ Maxx admiring all of the things I don't have and can't really afford. {Talk about heaping on grief!}

I've learned, though, that not-reading-the-Bible leads to more not-reading-the-Bible which leads to a dust-collecting-Bible which leads to a grief-collecting soul.  It's a downward spiral to be sure. I've experienced it, and I witness it on a consistent basis.

Thankfully, though, and by His grace, He leads me to His Word daily. And having grown in obedience to actually open and read it, it's had its promised effect on my heart, mind, and soul.

It does not return empty or without accomplishing His purposes. {Isaiah 55:11}
It delights, strengthens, counsels, and revives. {Psalm 119}
It is profitable for rebuking, correcting, and training. {2 Timothy 3:16}
It equips. {2 Timothy 3:17}
It sustains, brings joy, and affirms hope. {Psalm 119}
It is living and active. {Hebrews 4:12}

A couple of weeks ago I was reading through both 2 Kings and Colossians. {I tend to read 1-2 Old Testament chapters, and 1-2 New Testament chapters a day.}  If I didn't read these verses on the same exact day, then they only fell a day or two apart...

The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward.  For out of Jerusalem will go forth a remnant and out of Mt. Zion survivors.  The zeal of the Lord will perform this.  
2 Kings 19:30

and

Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. 
Colossians 2:6-7

I continuously marvel at the way His Word is not only living and active but also interactive with itself.  His Word is truly how He speaks to His children.  And I was in need of just what these verses said in unison to me: walk in Him and be perfected in Him just as you received Him = by grace.  And the zeal of the Lord will accomplish this, not my try-really-hard-and give-up-eventually efforts.  Not me; Him.  He is the one who roots me in salvation; He is the one who grows me up and bears fruit in and through me. My justification and my sanctification are both fully His gifts.

I could go on and on about reading these two books in tandem, because there are so many more parallels ~ like how the prophecy in 2 Kings was to Hezekiah and regarding the threat of domination and exile by Assyria.  God is promising to not allow those things to happen to Israel, at least for the time being.  And then in Colossians, Paul talks about the believer in terms of being "rescued from the domain of darkness, and transformed to the kingdom of His beloved Son" {Col. 1:13} and "disarming rulers and authorities" and making a "public display" of them...

"Whom have you reproached and blasphemed?  And against whom have you raised your voice, and haughtily lifted up your eyes?  Against the Holy One of Israel!...Because of your raging against Me, and because of your arrogance has come up to My ears, therefore I will put my hook in your nose, and My bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way which you came"  
2 Kings 19:22,28

Says the God of Israel to Sennacherib, the King of Assyria!  A disarming and public display of the enemy in BOTH cases ~ in 2 Kings and in Colossians.

And there's so much more, but those coordinating passages are not the only thing that keep me hungering and thirsting for more of His Word.  My women's small group exchanged index cards with prayer requests on them last week.  We were to pray for the person and her requests and check in with her during the week to let her know we were praying and to see how things were going.  I was without internet for most of the week, since we were in Cape Cod for a few days, so I only checked in with her via email on Saturday right before our next meeting.  I had prayed for this young woman during the week, based on that wonderful prayer in the first chapter of Colossians {since I'm still reading it over and over}...

We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience...
Colossians 1:9-12

She had requested prayer to "do what was necessary" and to "have words to speak to her ex-boyfriend if and when the time arose."  This Sunday she reported that he had indeed contacted her, and she had to do the difficult task of ending their relationship for good.  She followed through and was emotional yet peaceful. After group she came to me and asked "What did you pray????"  I told her that I prayed the same verses from Colossians that I had prayed for her out loud the Sunday before ~ especially that she would be "strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might."  She hugged me, and thanked me profusely.
Painting by C. Michael Dudash that hangs in my bedroom!

We both knew, though, that I really had nothing to do with it!  The Lord had only allowed me, through His beautiful and powerful Word to participate in His transformation in her life, His victory over a temptation she had struggled with for a long time ~ "an era" she called it.  We hugged again and rejoiced together over the Lord's goodness and faithfulness.

And it left me craving more of Him, more of His Word.  What other adventures await?  I can guarantee there are more.  I can promise He'll meet you there, too.

1 comment:

Cinnamon said...

Oh so true and such a good post. Not me but Him. The longer I live the more I crave HIM yet even that is only because of Him.

Lovely~ Cinnamon