Welcome to week 4 of my cyberspace Bible Study. Recently, my posts have followed the heart of the messages I taught this past fall at my church. I pray they will be a blessing to you!
In my last three posts, we looked at God's desire and plan to help us renew our minds, thus transforming our lives into the men and women He created us to be. One of the greatest gifts we have been given to help renew our mind is the Bible, the living and active word of God. In the same way a leaf-eating caterpillar is mysteriously equipped with a small pipe-like straw that enables it to burst forth from it's cocoon into a sweet-nectar drinking butterfly, we are miraculously equipped by the Holy Spirit to eat a new kind of food when we are born into the family of God. No longer do we simply hunger for the food that our body needs, but our soul longs to be nourished by spiritual food, the very God-breathed, mind-renewing, life-transforming Word of Truth!
1) New Hunger
God humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:3
I loved my first Bible, a gift from my parents on my ninth birthday. I enjoyed looking at the colorful pictures of the garden of Eden, David and Goliath, and the Good Shepherd. The stories were familiar to me from Sunday school and church services. Yet, even though, I cherished my little, white Bible; I never read the words on it's pages. Not until my senior year of high school, when I truly heard the gospel, and prayed for Jesus to forgive my sins and live in my heart. Then, for the first time, I was encouraged to open up my Bible and read it for myself.
After my graduation, I put aside the Bible. I didn't want the rules and regulations I found there to ruin the fun and freedom I had been looking forward to as a new independent "adult." And, for the next two years, I ran hard and fast away from God and His Word. My world spiraled downward as I attempted to be the "boss" of my own life. Then, one day, the thought crossed my mind, If this is what life is like, it's not worth living. It wasn't a suicidal thought, just one pondered by a lost, lonely and miserable girl.
With a desperate longing, I began to search for answers to the emptiness and turmoil I felt inside. I knew just where to look. I dug out my old, precious Bible. Then, for the next few weeks, I drove to a nearby park on my lunch break. There, under a cool canopy of trees, I sat at a picnic table, nibbled on my lunch and read the pages of that small, white book. Day after day, tears flowed, as I read the truths of God's Word and cried out, "God, I know this is true, but I don't know how to do it!"
2) New Food
Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. John 6:35
What I didn't understand, as I ate my lunch each day while reading the words in my Bible, was that God's Word was at work softening my hard heart. It helped prepare me for the day when I finally "hit bottom." Broken, and at the end-of-myself, I slid into the back pew of a New Year's Eve midnight church service. I was all set to flee if things got "too heavy." Instead, at the end of the service, I found myself down on my knees begging God to take over the mess I had made of my life. I asked Jesus to save me, and to be my Lord! Moments later, in the wee hours of a new year, I practically floated out of the church. I was filled with a peace I had never known. And, I found that in exchange for my surrender to God, I had received a new heart and a fresh hunger for the very things God had desired for me all along.
In the days that followed, the Bible came alive to me. With a yielded heart, and the help of God's Spirit within me, I began to read my Bible with new insight and understanding. I no longer saw God's Word as a book of rules I had to keep and regulations to ruin my fun. Instead, as the words in the Bible fed my soul, and began to renew my mind, I experienced the true joy and freedom that Christ came and gave His life for.
I was just nineteen, when I fell-in-love with the words in my Bible. It is God's Word to me and to you. Since then, I have read, studied, memorized and meditated on it. It never grows old. In fact, even now, thirty-three years later, the Word of God continues to feed my soul, reshape my thinking and revolutionize my life. The precious truths and promises in the Bible truly are one of God's greatest gifts to us. Psalm 19:7-11 says, The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
For Further Study:
Joshua 1:8; Matthew 4:3-4; Luke 4:3-4; John 6:35,47-58; Psalm 119
Psalm 1:1-4; Psalm 119:16,24; John 4:31-34; 2 Timothy 3:15-17
Also, you may click on the highlighted words for links to other Bible passages