Thursday, January 24, 2013

Taking the chance while there's still time

When I first opened my Bible and felt the pricking of my heart to want to know more, to understand more, I didn't have a degree in theology, divinity, or any other ology or ity's.  I was a homemaker, a wife, a mom, looking, searching, hungering for more than what I had known thus far.

I had in my youth, gotten solid teaching on exactly who Jesus was, what He did, what it meant for me.  Solid.  Rock solid.  But......

I didn't own it, I didn't take it personally to heart, it was more of a knowledge rather than something that I believed and lived wholeheartedly.  This is not to say that there was any action, or lack thereof, on my part that would have made the facts of Jesus less relevant or less true.  It was just simply Jesus, God, God's Word was somewhere out there, in my knowledge bank rather than my  heart's bank.

But then I started, with shaking hands, heck, shaking all over, reading His word.  Not just assuming I knew the facts, just the facts, thank you very much and that's all I needed, there was something compelling me to dig further.  To want to know more, of what, I wasn't sure, but I knew there had to be more to the story than the basic facts.

But how?  How do I read this book that I've been told is God's word and apply it to me?  How?  What right do I have reading words that were written for a people I have never known, would never know, what did any word or words of an ancient book have to do with me living thousands of years later?

Without those questions answered, I just began reading.  I only had one thought in the back of my mind as I read promises that were for specific people groups, circumstances, and times, "if God said it to one person, He may someday say it to me."

It wasn't that I understood Messianic prophecy, or any type of prophecy for that matter - end times, Isaiah's, Jeremiah's, or any of the prophecies that were spoken by God -  but there was a hole in me that kept getting filled by the words that I was reading that God was speaking centuries ago!  How can that be?

I didn't understand and I only leave it to the faith He's given me to know that someday I will understand what I can't understand now.

So for example, I believed that because God spoke to Isaiah, "never will I leave you or forsake you," I would grab the coattails of those words and believe that if God said it to one person, or one people group, He just might mean it for me too.  Not in the exact same way or with the exact same scenario, but somehow, my heart's hole was getting filled and comforted by these ancient words.

He kept doing that every time I opened the pages of His word, my heart would get filled!  Paul's letters in the New Testament brought comfort to me, even though the times I lived in were so different God kept filling my hole's heart with words like, "it is for freedom that Christ has set you free."  Or, "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.  But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body (I knew that part) through death (knew about the cross story)  to present you holy (what?) in his sight, without blemish (what?!!) and free (!!!!) from accusation(you mean for those Colossian believers, right Paul?).

Let me understand, I'm a sinner, remember that Paul, always have been, always will be.  What's this about being holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation?

You mean those that have already died and are living in heaven right? That's what I'll be in heaven, right?

And my eyes fell on this:  "bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of  God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

I thought, we don't have to have great endurance and patience in heaven, do we?

So my mind had to was compelled to wonder....this Jesus I've heard about all these years growing up, you mean, there's more to know about him than his story of his suffering, death and resurrection?  Isn't that enough?

Yeah, it is the part that's necessary to hear and believe for your eternal life.

But the words I was reading, beyond the story of his death and resurrection looked like, to me at least, that those letters that Paul wrote and Jesus' brother James' penned, and the disciples John and Peter also penned, they were writing for the believers in their lifetime, right?

Right, guys?

Right, God?

God didn't answer  God kept filling that hole, filling it, filling it, filling it with words of hope spoken centuries and millenia ago, and my heart was being filled.

So I just kept reading and rereading and marking up my Bible to find that verse that spoke so loudly to me at 10:00 in the morning on a Thursday in 1993 and still it spoke to me on a Monday night around one in the morning in 2001!

So I believe God's word, ALL of it, is for me, is for you, is for ALL.  Those ancient words spoke then and they continue to speak now.

There's so much more to the story then the Christmas story and the Easter story - two VERY important parts - but the middle part is just as important too.

This morning I read in a bible study I'm doing, these words, what I would say are the middle part of the story.

"The King of the universe wants a real, live relationship with us.  He's not interested in just being a mind reader.  He's not even interested in just being a provider.  He's both of those things, but the role He relishes most is Father.  He wants us - frail mortal creatures - to connect with Him and communicate with Him as the dearest relationship in human existence.  He rejoices to hear our voices.  He delights to be our sole and holy source for all things in life."

That's why I keep reading and studying Him and His word.  Because He is the answer to all my questions, my fears, my doubts, my joys.

I write and I pray and I pray some more for whoever reads this to KNOW this too.  Not just head knowledge that can be recited on demand, but KNOW it in your heart, in  your soul.  He is worth it.


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