There are so many ways to read the Bible! The important thing is that we read it! I like to mix it up. Sometimes I like to just read a few verses and think about them, asking the Holy Spirit to teach me from them. Right now I am reading entire books at one sitting. The “Readers Bible” from Crossway is a great tool for that. There are no chapter divisions or verses numbered. It is just like reading any book. Remember, the Bible is the only book that God ever wrote! I have so appreciated reading a book of the Bible in its entirety in one or two sittings. When I am done, I just write down a few gleanings about God I have seen. For example, I just read Genesis. What rich truths stood out as I experienced the overall flow of the book! Give it a try! Remember, there are many ways to read the Bible. The important thing is to read it! God uses the Bible, by means of His Holy Spirit, to speak to us!
Jeremiah 32:17 has encouraged me, “Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you” (ESV). Just looking out at this sunrise caused me to reflect on the great power of our God. As Jeremiah said, “Nothing is too hard for you.”
Every spring, turtles emerge from our pond to lay eggs. If you approach them, they will view you as trouble! What does a turtle do when faced with trouble? They withdraw into their shell! Do you ever feel like you act like a turtle when trouble comes? You want to thrive, but your instinct is to just survive. Let us not forget, during these troubling days, the words of Psalm 46:1-2a, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way. . . .” (ESV).
This Easter weekend reminds me of John 20:19-21. There the disciples are in seclusion behind locked doors, much like we are behind closed doors because of COVID-19. Yet, just as a beautiful sunrise gives us great joy, the SON rise of Jesus Christ can give us great joy! John 20:19 says, “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews. . . .” Easter Sunday evening, Jesus’ disciples are in seclusion behind closed doors and they see the Son! Verse 19 continues, “Jesus came and stood among them and said to them ‘Peace be with you'” (ESV). There is peace and joy in Jesus Christ even behind closed doors, even in fearful days. Notice verse 20 continues, “. . . Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.” May you find peace in Jesus Christ this Easter weekend, even behind closed doors!
The prophet Ezekiel saw an awesome vision of God in Ezekiel 1. As the prophet tries to describe in words what he saw, he concludes the description with this comment, “Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking (ESV).” We cannot begin to imagine the vast expanse of God’s glory. But when we catch a glimpse of who God is, it prepares us to listen. Coupling reading the Bible (listening to God) and praying (talking to God), I try to begin my reading by praying, “Lord, help me see you as I read your word. Show me your glory.”
As He, by His Spirit, gives me glimpses of His person as I read His word, it prepares my heart to listen to what He wants to teach me from His word.
Matthew 14:14 says, “When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them . . . .” I have been praying, “Lord, help me see people as you see them.” When Jesus saw people, He felt for them. He actually saw them, cared for them, and recognized their need. It is easy to not see the person behind his/her job, behind appearances, behind ideologies. Lord, help me see people as you see them. Help me see peoples’ need for Jesus.
In 1 Samuel 25 David acts out of anger and almost kills numerous people because of one man’s selfishness. In the end, David does not kill them. When he thought of what he almost did, David said, “Blessed be the LORD who has . . . kept back his servant from wrongdoing” (1 Samuel 25:39; ESV). I’m sure David looked back and questioned why he acted without forethought. Yet, he looks at what appears to be broken in his own life and sees the beauty of God in it! God graciously intervenes and keeps David from damaging his future kingship with one impetuous act of anger. Aren’t we thankful that God takes our brokenness and still shows His grace and beauty through it!
In Jeremiah 32 Judah’s king imprisons the prophet Jeremiah because he spoke truth. While Jeremiah is under arrest, God tells him to buy a field from his uncle. That does not seem unusual until we read that the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar, is besieging Jerusalem, and the city will soon fall. God instructs Jeremiah to buy the field as a visual picture of His promise that His people will one day return to their land. Jeremiah tells God that he knows that whatever He says will happen does happen; however, it appears strange to Jeremiah to buy a field right when they are going to be taken captive! Here is what God tells Jeremiah in response to his inquiry,
“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27; ESV). God’s word to Jeremiah is a word that I continually need to hear. What was true of God in Jeremiah’s day is true of God today: “Is anything too hard for me?”