One of the points of last Sunday’s sermon was the fact that the early church, the one we find in the book of Acts, did some things that made them experience God and helped others experience God in powerful ways. That point was that they “devoted” themselves to the Word of God.
They loved and longed for Apostles teaching and spending time with other followers of Jesus. Their example points us in the same direction and encourages us to fall deeply in love with the Bible. It’s concepts and truth leads us to know God in great ways. Yet we have to remember that reading the Bible should be coupled with a relationship with Jesus.
My desire and our prayer for The Community family is that we will begin with a greater commitment to read and take in the Word of God that leads to loving it and ingesting it more and more. The Bible leads us into a deeper relationship with our Savior. Disciples stay close to the one they are following, and the best way to stay close is to stay in the word of God.
The following is an article I read last night, and I knew that it would get my point across in a great way. Read on, and I pray that we will literally fall in love with His word.
THE WORD OF GOD
(article from the NAVITAGORS website; you can see it HERE)
We know that the Bible is more than merely words. And yet there are times when we’re so familiar with hearing and reading the Word of God that we sometimes overlook the transforming power of the Scriptures.
Rich and Sarah Paulson* work with The Navigators in a part of the world where the Word of God isn’t so familiar—where the truth of the Bible isn’t discussed casually, or even openly. But when it is—usually in one-on-one encounters with individuals—the transforming impact of the Word can be clearly seen.
“Regardless of the complexity of a problem,” says Rich, “Jesus has already prepared the perfect solution. He never fails to heal the brokenhearted and set people free.” Here are just a couple of glimpses of how the truth of the Scriptures brought about change in the lives of those who encountered it.
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
One woman we met despaired because she did all the right things—she read the Bible, she worshipped, she prayed, she waited on God—but nothing changed. When she didn’t do all these activities, she felt guilty and feared Jesus would be mad at her. I finally told her, “Jesus is not looking for religion, but relationship.” His goal isn’t perfect performance of activities, but full connection with His heart. The woman listened in stunned silence, as she reflected on her experience. As we prayed, she recalled all the wrong thinking she had believed and wept. When she renounced religion, her heart became free to enjoy a genuine relationship with Jesus.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
I had known Samuel since he was a young boy, because we often helped his mother grow spiritually during our earlier visits to his city. Now a young teenager, he came to us with a problem neither he nor his mother could solve. He was plagued by fear of the dark and often had a dream in which a demon laughed mockingly at him. We prayed with him about this, but nothing changed. Something was missing.
Samuel had learned many Bible truths from his mother, but apparently he had not yet connected his heart to Jesus. I shared with him what the man who led me to Jesus told me, “When you hear Jesus knocking, you should open the door.” I understood at that time that the “door” was the door of my heart. I reminded Samuel that Jesus could not open that door from the outside. It had to be opened from the inside.
When Samuel realized Jesus had been knocking at his heart, he was deeply touched and readily welcomed Him into his life. Once Jesus lived within him, Sarah led him to pray about his fear and the demonic dream. Within a few minutes, the fear disappeared. He was free.
The Bible is more than just words. As the writer of Hebrews acknowledged, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
*Not their actual names. This article was copied from The Navigators, Disciple! Monthly, November 2014 at THIS LINK.