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I Don’t Read My Bible Anymore… But I’m a… Christian?

Lincoln_inaugural_bible

The Bible shown above (Attributed to: Michaela McNichol, Library of Congress), is the one Abraham Lincoln held for his oath of office in 1861. A little Wikipedia research and this article from CBS News told me it was not the Bible Abraham Lincoln carried with him to his inaguration. The story is he arrived in Washington in the middle of the night on the edge of the Civil War, separated from his own Bible, and had to use a borrowed one. A clerk of the US Supreme Court brought one he kept for official use.

How sad, the fate of this Bible, with its crisp, unturned pages, wasting its life away in a drawer somewhere. And yet, how many of our own Bibles do the same?

The truth is, there are very few people who read the Bible from cover to cover. Some purpose to read the Bible every year, and they may or may not reach that goal. Others are content to sit in church and listen to someone read a few verses to them. My suspicion is there are a lot of “Christians” out there who seldom move past the cover.

Question, friends. If we, as Matthew 4:4 tells us, live not by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God, will we not die if we choose not to partake? Will we be like the Saducees in Matthew 22, and have God tell us we are mistaken, not knowing the scriptures or power of God?

I’ve found that although it’s a challenge to sit and read pages of the Bible at a time in our busy society, it’s rather easy to read an excerpt here and there. I found little stickers, and placed verses on all my light switch plates. I have pictures hanging in my home with Bible verses written as a caption. You can hang a calendar that provides a scripture to read each day of the month. There are apps and CDs that will read the Bible to you in the car. Sites like Bible Gateway will send you a verse of the day. Even if you cannot find the time to sit and read page after page, you can still find ways to encounter God’s words throughout your day.

Every year, I renew my goal to memorize 100 Bible verses. I do this for Lads to Leaders, but mostly to provide an example for my children about how important God’s words are and how we must write them on our hearts. My goal for this year is that my children learn them, too. Join us! We’re starting with the Beattitudes, Matthew 5:1-12.

And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
    For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Write from the Heart, Write on the Heart

reading bible

A friend asked a few days ago what drives me to write Christian young adult fiction and not mainstream. Though I’ve touched on this topic in another post, one thing I didn’t mention is my deep concern that many people claiming to be Christians are not reading their Bibles anymore. They’ll say, “Oh, I saw that in a blog post,” or “I read about it in a book.”

For me, there’s only one Book, THE Book, that serves as the source of my faith. Blog posts and commentary are only manmade opinions, just as this one is. And if I’m to have a platform, that’s it. Read your Bible. More than that, write its words on your heart–Memorize Scripture. Anything I write now, or in the future, will have that message somewhere within its pages.

I drew inspiration for my work-in-progress, Cavernous, from several different sources. One was Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, which to me, is one of the scariest concepts–the banning of books.

In Cavernous, several US states have seceded to form their own country, the Alliance of American States. Adrian Lamb, the leader of this new nation, has printed his own Bibles, keeping only the Scripture that suits him. And sadly, many of the so-called Christians in the Alliance have not read the Bible enough to even detect that parts are missing.

Just like firefighter Montag in Fahrenheit 451, who becomes the “back-up copy” of the book of Ecclesiastes, my protagonist, Callie, carries Scripture in her heart. Thus, she’s able to resist Alliance brainwashing, since she knows what pieces are left out.

This morning, I read from Deuteronomy 11.

13 ‘And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. 15 And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled.’ 16 “Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, 17 lest the Lord’s anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you.

18 “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.–Quote from NKJV, accessed from BibleGateway.com

 

Verses 18 and 19 could well be my mission statement. Lay up God’s words in your heart and soul, keep them in front of your eyes, teach them to your children, speaking of them continually, write them where people can see them.

Through the Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes program, my husband, children, and I have participated in an event called “Centurion of Scripture.” The goal is to memorize 100 Bible verses in a year. It seems a daunting task until you push up your sleeves and start learning verses, but after that, it’s actually pretty easy. Think about what a better life we’d all have if everyone wrote the words of God on their heart.