Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“The Lord will be a refuge for His people and a stronghold.”
Joel 3: 16
“There is no false peace in the calm the Christian knows even at the whirlwind time. There are seasons when it seems to us the Lord thundereth in the heavens, and the Highest gives forth His voice in terror and in wrath; but higher than the storms our vision must look, even to our Father’s face, which promises love and rest and protection.
Be of comfort, my Soul! His arms are around thee in the tempest-hour; He will stay His rough wind from which thou tremblest; He will be to thee a covert from the storm, an everlasting shelter.”
Mrs. Charles Cowman
Today’s Study Text:
“As for God, His way is perfect! The word of the Lord is tested and tried. He is a shield to all those who take refuge and put their trust in Him.”
Psalm 18: 30
“Why I Love Studying the Bible” Part 4
“Tested and Tried”
“The Bible - banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of intellectuals have attempted to discredit it; dictators of every age have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry it into battle believing it more powerful than their weapons. Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed ruthless killers into gentle saints.”
Charles W. Colson
What does it mean to me to know that God’s Word has withstood the test of time and trial by fire?
“The old book – the Bible – has been ‘buried’ many times, even as now men and women would bury God. However, the ‘corpse’ has a habit of coming to life in the midst of internment to outlive all the pallbearers.”
“I have before me God’s Word which cannot fail, nor can the gates of hell prevail against it.”
Every night before I go to sleep, I take a few moments to read an old worn book that sits on the table by our bed. It’s a Bible my parents gave me when I graduated from Nurse’s training. I’ll admit, I wasn’t in a good spiritual place at that time in my life. My Bible got very dusty sad to say. Even though I’d memorized many passages of Scripture as a child, at the age of 20 I didn’t feel I needed much assistance from anything or anyone. Especially an old book that was so boring to read.
But let me make a point – God will keep after us like a bloodhound if He needs to. And praise His name He was on my trail while I was aimlessly wandering, He stepped in, on more than one occasion to save me from my selfish behavior. What’s more, He hung onto me. He didn’t give up on me when time and again I resorted to ignoring His voice. Then one day something eventful happened. I was living in a small-forested Oregon town. I lived alone – doing whatever I wanted and quite frankly, I enjoyed my freedom immensely. Since I was worked nights at the local hospital, I slept during the day and on one particular afternoon, when I got up and looked out the window in my small apartment – I was shocked to see a wall of fire engulfing the entire mountain. It didn’t take me long to realize I needed to get out of my apartment immediately. A few minutes later, the apartment Manager banged at my door with instructions to get out and “only take the things you can’t live without.” For a 20-year-old that meant grabbing 3 pairs of jeans, several shirts, my two nursing uniforms and cap, my white shoes, my hiking boots – and yes, my Bible. You see, at that moment, even a wayward girl like myself recognized that more than any of my other possessions, my Bible had a significant place in my life. What’s more, leaving that book behind to be destroyed by a raging forest fire just didn’t seem like the right thing to do.
Since this event many years ago, I’m thankful to be able to tell you that the treasure of God’s Word has become my most cherished possession. In fact, I was “gifted” with my father’s mother’s old well-worn Scofield Bible. She died when my father was only 6 months old and because he never got to know his mother, when I was born and named “Dorothy” – after my dad’s mom – it was decided that her Bible, which had been given to my father by one of his sisters, would be passed down to me. It’s the most valuable and loved gift I have ever received. It’s priceless! And the more I study God’s Word, the deeper my love becomes for this miraculous book which has survived the destructive forces that have tried to wipe out this book down through time. Interestingly, the riches contained in God’s Word are preserved as 66 separate books which took approximately 1600 years to complete by 40 distinct authors. And in spite of the length of time it took to put this amazing book together, there is a continuity which flows from the very first book to the end of the Bible.
I never could have gotten my head around the truly miraculous way the Bible has been protected throughout history until our company was asked to work with an organization, over 30 years ago, that helped get Bibles into Communist countries during a time when having a Bible was forbidden. Since I was writing newsletters for the organization I had the task of interviewing dear people who had traveled from country to country with individual pages of a Bible sown into their clothes. Every time one of these people talked to me about their experiences hand delivering a “piece” of the Bible to a Christian living under Communist rule, tears would begin to flow down their cheeks and they would always say, “We just don’t know how blessed we are here in the United States to be able to have Bibles all around us.” I’ll admit, I felt ashamed when I thought about all the Bibles I had access to and how little use they got.
It is experiences like this, which have changed my heart for it is not only in foreign countries where the Bible can still be hard to obtain. Even in the United States, I’ve found that having a special Bible is a stretch financially for many people. It always thrills me to be able, through our Garden work, to send a brand new Bible to someone who has never had their own Bible to hold.
Author W. E. Sangster observes that, “Christians feel that the tooth of time gnaws all books but the Bible…centuries of experience have tested the Bible. It has passed through critical fires no other volume has suffered, and its spiritual truth has endured the flames and come out without so much as the smell of burning.”
During this coming year, my heart’s longing is to keep the words of my heavenly Father before me and His truth within me. As daily we study God’s Word, it is my prayer that as writer Thomas Watson states, we will let the Bible “not only inform us but inflame us.”
“It is a miracle how God has so long preserved His book! How great and glorious it is to have the Word of God.”
My Bible and I
“We’ve traveled together through life’s rugged way,
O’er land and o’er water, by night and by day.
To travel without it I never would try;
We keep close together, my Bible and I.
In sorrow I’ve proved it my comfort and joy,
When weak my strong tower which naught can destroy;
When death comes so near me ‘tis thought I would die,
We still are together, my Bible and I.
If powers of evil against me would come,
And threaten to rob me of heaven and home;
God’s Word then directs me to Him in the sky;
And nothing can part us, my Bible and I.
When evil temptations are brought to my view,
And I in my weakness know not what to do.
On Christ as my strength I am taught to rely;
And so we keep company, my Bible and I.
When life’s path is ended, if Jesus should come,
And take all His blood-purchased children home;
Or if, in long suffering, He waits till I die,
We’ll never be parted, my Bible and I.
And when in the glory my Lord I behold,
With all His redeemed gathered safe in the fold,
My Bible and I close companions will be,
For God’s Word abides for all Eternity.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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