Devotions

Why I Read the Bible

Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 

I have been a student of the Bible most of my life. As a child I remember hearing Bible stories in Sunday school and learning about the great heroes of the faith. In the third grade the church gave me a Bible with my name inscribed inside the front cover. My Bible. I still have that one – among the many Bibles in my office is that first one. 

As a teenager and young adult, I admit I didn’t pay much attention to continuing to learn scripture. But as a young father I took my children to church and once again rekindled my relationship with the Bible. Of course, as a pastor for 42 years I have read and studied God’s Word daily, for classes, for sermons, for personal devotionals, and a number of other reasons that pastors read scripture. 

For me, it is a lifelong gift of insight and inspiration, of spiritual nurture and practical advice, of offering hope and issuing challenge. The Bible is all this and more. Sometimes I love what I find in the pages of holy scripture, phrases like: 

Lord, you are my help and my deliverer. 
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” 
For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. 

Sometimes I am stunned and chastened by what the Bible says to me: 

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others you will be judged.
Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 

I don’t even know what to do with these. Yes, I know that we can justify ourselves and explain this one way and another, but still…these are harsh words. And yet, my lack of understanding does not mean I should ignore all that I do know about the Bible. And this I know beyond a shadow of doubt: 

God loves me with an everlasting love. God forgives me for the mistakes in my life. God has an eternal home for me when my life on earth is through. And God admonishes me not to judge others but to extend love and mercy to all. 

And that’s why I read the Bible. 

Posted by Bob Winstead
Tags: devotion

Six Prayers

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,  
Ephesians 1:17-20  
 
Reading a good word from someone else is a healthy practice. I have many resources at my fingertips, and emails too that come my way full of encouragement. All of these materials give me access to greater knowledge.  My faith especially grows when I hear how someone else is growing in their faith. One writer pointed out to me that in chapter 1 of Ephesians, there is a prayer with six prayers inside it! He suggested we could pray those prayers too. I love to pray, and it gave me joy to have this new discovery to add into my daily prayers.  
 
Let me invite you to join me in praying over one another!  
 
Gracious Lord,  
 
Give us all 

  • A deeper faith in Jesus. 
  • A greater love for others. 
  • A greater measure of the Spirit, so as to know You better.  

Let the eyes of our hearts be enlightened with… 

  • Knowing the hope to which You call us. 
  • Knowing the riches of the inheritance You give us. 
  • Knowing Your power is available to us who believe. 

In Your hands, this faith, love, inspiration, hope, riches, and power at work in our lives becomes a glorious offering to honor You! In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.  
 
What great things to be praying for each day! Try using this prayer each morning and see what God does in response. I think it's leading me deeper into the things of God, and I pray that it does the same for you too.  

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