Tuesday, March 6, 2012

the bible is NOT boring.

there is this amazing thing, a best kept secret if you will, and it is the message paraphrase bible.

let me tell you a little back story first.

i was a young girl, being raised in a catholic family, going to a private christian school. my parents actually went to church, unlike a lot of "catholic" families, so that was an important thing in our house, but as it goes for a lot of catholics, reading the bible is not.

so there i was, an 8 year old (at one point) in a christian elementary school, who owned a bible with weird books in it, like "baruch", "maccabees" and "bel and the dragon"..... [i just cracked this bible open again and i'm more bewildered than ever - what's the point of having fancy, strange books in the bible if you're not even going to encourage your congregation to read it??] anyways! i was being taught at school about the bible and being told to read it. so a couple times as a kid, i attempted to, but i always ended up feeling really overwhelmed as a young person. the language felt foreign and weighty, and i just didn't get it. so i stopped trying.

not that i didn't want to. but over time it felt less important and i never really thought people were actually encouraging me [whether directly or indirectly] to read so i thought no one else really was either.

but i was wrong.

this past summer i grew and learned a lot. i felt crushed and betrayed and super hurt and wanting to deal with it in a mature, God-honoring, God-pleasing way, i turned to Him.

many nights i cried out, or just cried, or rolled around sleeplessly. and yes, yes that's dramatic but i was so sad, and so broken.

but the crying out didn't really change anything, until i realized i needed more and needed to be more intentional.

my moaning and groaning wasn't going to do much for me.
if i was going to wail on God i was going to need to do what i was told and that was to "seek Him" and to do that, i turned to my bible.

more specifically, i took the one thing i always have - my iphone - and i set up my youversion bible with a reading plan so that everyday i would be led through a psalm and a proverb in order to get me in the habit and routine of reading scripture.

and boy oh boy, was that ever life-changing!

this amazing thing happened where i couldn't stand not reading something [and this is not solely equated to my ocd, but to a deep desire to hear from God each day!] - i craved it, i needed it, most of all, i wanted it!

slowly my perspective on life, work, myself, love, family, other people, ministry, and much more, changed. and it was refreshing and exciting, and much more joyful than wailing and bawling my eyes out!

one thing that really helped transition me into reading my bible regularly was the message translation. this "relevant", easy-to-understand, applicable paraphrase can make reading something like the psalms and pauline letters [as in, letters written by the apostle paul, ie: colossians, philippians, romans, etc] much more... well, "relevant". my joke is that i love all the exclamation marks!!!!! - it just fires me up to read it.

if you're starting out, and want to make reading the bible something enjoyed and not dreaded [which is hopefully not the way you feel about reading the bible... maybe a better word would be "overwhelmed"] i would suggest, from experience, diving into the message first, as you ease your way into a more widely accepted version of the bible, like the niv or esv [whatever ya got!]

i promise you that your life will change as you are in the Word everyday.

it's easy to say "i don't have time to read my bible" but yet you have 4 hours to spend refreshing your homepage on facebook? let's put things in perspective here [and allow me to be frank] but those thoughts are from the devil. straight up! homeboy doesn't want you reading the written Word of God; he doesn't want you to have a better relationship with your Father. he wants to divide and separate you from Him! so battle that voice as you reach out and grab hold of His Word and ask Him to guide your reading and your thoughts, and your actions and words for the day!

this is important! you could even argue that it's Life or death! [haha... but really...]

i read an analogy once that went something like this:

imagine your father died and left a will, but you never took the time to read it.
then one day, you saw your mom driving a fancy, expensive car down the highway, and your brother retired and moved to a mansion on the ocean somewhere warm and sunny, but you were still living in a dirty cardboard box on the side of the road, all because you didn't want to take a moment to read the will. if only you would read it, you would see that you too were left a massive inheritance in your Father's will!

budda boom budda bing!

i'm going to keep making promises, coz that's just what i'm up to today folks.

i promise that His Word is not boring. i promise that there are some pretty incredible things that God wants to let you in on if only you'd crack open the Good Book. i promise you - because He promised you first - that your life will change as you saturate your life in all that He wants for you, and that includes you rejecting the devil's comments of the Bible's "boringness" or how Jesus isn't important. those are lies, so counter those triumphantly by indulging yourself everyday in the truth!

some further biblical encouragement:

"Don't stop reading this book of the Law, but day and night think of what it says, so you can be careful to do everything written in it; then you will prosper and succeed." - joshua 1:8

"Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, 'If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.'" - john 8:31-32

"For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are." - hebrews 4:12

how did YOU get yourself in the habit of reading the bible?! where did YOU start? what are YOU reading now?
have a great weekend friends! i'm going to snocamp with our youth group!

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