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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Book of Life!

I was thinking about an old Christian movie I had last watched a few years ago.  In one particular scene the good guy hands the troubled young bad guy a Bible to which the young man immediately throws to the ground.  And I’ll never forget the good guy’s remarks as he bends down and reverently picks up the old book and says while brushing off the dirt from its cover: “Don’t do that, this is the Word of God!”

Every time I have watched that scene in that western, I have commented to those with me… “You can always tell when someone really KNOWS God!”  It was easy to see that the line was not just words in a script that the actor was reciting… but that it came from his heart and life experiences.  Of course, I might add that the actor just happened to be a world renowned evangelist who had partnered with another well-known Pastor to produce and star in the movie!  The line and the action just seemed to point out how an individual can have a close and special connection with their Bible.

As a child being raised in a strong Catholic family, I don’t recall ever seeing a Bible in our home until I was in Junior High when a fellow teacher and friend of my Dad gave him one.  Then I vividly remember the green, hardbound book sitting on the end table to the left of our couch in the living room.  I can even think of a few times when I actually picked it up and thumbed through it… but I must admit that it didn’t seem to make much sense to me, even though it was a modern translation.

Well, most of you know the rest of the story.  Of how I met this vivacious young lady in High School who talked about Jesus like He was her best friend, and quoted phrases from that green book on the side table like it was alive with words of wisdom, hope  and love!  After that, I guess I was hooked… on her and eventually on that book as well!

It’s actually kind of funny now, in that the first Bible she gave me, while still in high school, was a paperback version of the Good News Bible.  And while I was developing a real hunger for the information in that book, I never really liked that translation back then… But now I find myself referring to it quite often as it is part of the multiple translations that are available to me on the Bible study software that I use on a daily basis!

Today, as I think about that particular scene in that Christian Western movie, I know exactly how the actor was feeling when he performed his part.  To me, the Bible is no longer just a book that one displays in a prominent place in their house, but it is the heart and soul of my wife and I’s whole life!  It IS the Word of God… Its words ARE Spirit and they ARE life! (See; John 6:63)

I’m pretty sure that I mentioned it before, but I am now the proud owner of over forty (probably more than 50 by now!) different translations of The Bible.  And it is not just because I like to collect them, but because I am always looking through them for the different words and/or phrases they may use to interpret from the original languages into English.  I guess that you could say that I am just hungry for the truth… and both Jesus and David boldly declared that the words of our Papa God contained between the pages of our Bibles ARE the truth! (See: John 17:17 and Psalm 119:160)

When I see one of Piper’s or my Bibles around the house I can’t help but smile because of the good feelings that I get from it.  It’s just like every time I see one of the pictures of Piper that are hanging ALL around our home and can’t help but breakout into a big toothy smile, because of all the good feelings that I get when I consider all the fantastic years of life that we have experienced together.

When I see one of my Bibles, I see a close and intimate friend!  I think of all the hours, over the last 47 years of my life, that I have spent seeking guidance, support, direction or just a dose of Godly love in a time of emotional need.  I see the hand of God reaching out to me in the middle of any and all the circumstances of my life!  I guess you could say that when I see one of my Bibles… I see my Papa God!  Over the years since High School, I have clearly come to see and personally experience what it was (and still is) that my spunky, spirited and blessed girlfriend and now wife knew and had when we first met!

What about you?  What is the Bible to you?  I was studying Hebrews 4:12 this morning where the author of the book explains to his (or her) readers: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (KJV)  After reading the verse a few times it finally struck me that the Holy Spirit Who inspired the writer was making the point that the written Word of God not only speaks to, and brings life to the spiritual side of man, but to the physical and emotional sides as well.

He begins by declaring that the Word is characteristically “living and active” (God’s Word ©).  Then goes on to explain that It works in our spiritual side within our soul and spirit, as well as in our physical being within the joints and marrow of our bodies and finally in our emotions by discerning the very thoughts and intents of our hearts.  That’s kind of special, wouldn’t you agree?  Jesus came to minister to the whole man (or women)!

I thought it to be especially encouraging when I looked up the word translated “marrow” in this verse.  Not too surprisingly, in the original Greek it means just what it says… “marrow!”  A modern definition of that word from the Oxford online dictionary describes the marrow as “a soft fatty substance in the cavities of our bones in which the blood cells are produced,” and that “the function of the blood cells is to bring oxygen to the heart” and from the heart “to carry oxygen around the body.”  So as most of us know… we cannot live without the functioning of the marrow in our bones!

God’s Word makes it pretty specific when it states in many places through the Bible that “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” (Leviticus 17:11 KJV)  I would say that God makes a strong point in declaring that His Word is the power of the Holy Spirit and the very life of God that works to our spiritual, physical and emotional benefit.  WOW!

So with all that in mind… If someone tossed my Bible down to the ground, I wouldn’t hesitate to quickly bend down and reverently dust it off and boldly declare… “Don’t do that, this is the very words of God!” 

What about you?

Have a terrific rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What expectations do I have when I read my Bible?”

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