Our treasure- the Scriptures
On my 12th birthday, I received from my parents my first Bible. It was brown, hard covered and the New King James version. Inside, Mum had written in calligraphy the year I was born again (1980), baptised in the Holy Spirit (1983) and baptised in water (1986). I remember cherishing that gift and reading it often. I would highlight favourite or relevant passages of scripture with different coloured highlighter pens. I would write notes in the margins; some my own thoughts and some of the main points of sermons I would listen to. I wrote prayers in blank sections. I also embellished the blank pages with scrap pictures of flowers and other pretty things. Even though I've now used two more bibles since this first one, the version has remained the same (as I love how the NKJV has remained true and as close to the Hebrew scriptures as a translation can). The pages have almost completely come away from the spine and I do not use it daily any longer. Obviously though, I have kept it in a special place and look through it from time to time.
I'm not sure why the Lord has instilled in me a love for His Word and from a young age. I came to the Lord at the age of 8 and re dedicated my life at the age of 12. (not sure about the whole re-dedication ritual. It seemed to be the thing to do in the 80's in Pentecostal churches :))
I'm certainly an avid reader. Reading is one of my favourite past times and a great way to relax. But I also enjoy reading to study and learn new things, to be aware of what's going on in the world and in art of Christian apologetics -to be equipped to share the 'reason for the hope that is in me'. 1 Peter 3:17
My current Bible is a compact one. It fits well into any bag I am carrying. I often take it with me. Although I have memorised alot of scripture over the 38 years I've been a Christian, I'm not completely accurate with specific references. Plus, you will never know when an opportunity might present itself where having a copy of the scriptures on you is needed. I'm not a fan of the Bible on your smart device. I'm not sure how 'smart' it actually is to run the high risk of being interrupted with some 'notification' or an actual phone call. There are also other distractions on your device that are crying out for attention (social media, news reports and other articles). We are inundated with many and varied excuses to neglect reading our bibles. Satan would love the fact that biblical illiteracy in 21st Christianity is at an all time high.
Here are some sobering results from recent research conducted by the Bible Society in Australia:
*4% Christian young people read bible daily
*7-10 have never read it
*Students are 10 TIMES more likely to read the Bible if they are involved in a group which encourages them to do so.
*1-100 will pick up the Bible out of curiosity or interest
*24% of Christian parents indicated they never read to their children
*23% read once or twice a year
*22% read once a month
*10% once or twice a week
*19% most days
These findings are not at all encouraging. To me, they are both alarming and sad.
From these results, it would be safe to conclude that the majority of Christians have no idea of the treasure that is theirs in the Scriptures. Not only that, but subsequent generations are in danger of disregarding the Word of God altogether ! The amount of Christians I hear complaining that they wish they could win the lottery, that they never have enough, that carry on about wanting to tick off items from their bucket list and wish they earned more or had property for investment, or more properties for investing, or are generally very materialistic (And I am honest enough to admit I have carried on in the same way and idolize materialism as well)...
What does God say about His Word?
Both the passages in Matthew and Isaiah make it very clear that God's word will remain forever and has the power to accomplish what God pleases. The Bible also tells us the Word of God is a sword, which is a weapon that is to be used by Christians to counter attack opposition from our enemy.
Colossians 3:16 says "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.."
Jesus said "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God'". (Matt. 4:4) and "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life."(John 6:63)
David said in Psalm 119 "I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might sin against you."
His son Solomon, well known to be the wisest man who ever lived wrote of His word this way- "My son, be attentive to my words;incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight;keep them within your heart.For they are life to those who find them and healing to all their flesh." (Prov. 4:20-22)
The scriptures are for Christians to use daily and often and for every area of our lives. His word contains rich treasure that offers us many benefits for this life and for life to come. It's far better than the richest treasure the world has to offer and will remain forever, unlike earthly 'treasure'. This will only fade, wear out, lose value and perhaps be stolen anyway.
Have a listen to one of favourite songs from Third Day- Your Words....
I encourage you to invest more time during 2018 and into the future in discovering the treasures that are yours in the Scriptures. It will be time well spent and you will not be disappointed.