Posts tagged ‘read’

September 1, 2011

The Un-used Bible

by pastortimfowler

My Bible is falling apart. The cover is ragged, the pages are stained and tattered and the stuff that binds the pages to the cover is no longer working. There are coffee stains, sweat stains, blood stains, and some I am not real sure of. A few pages have been taped back together and that little piece of ribbon the is used to mark pages is frazzled.
When I was a kid going to church I always wanted a new Bible. They just looked like something I could be proud of. I remember that we had one on our coffee table in that room that no one played in. It was big and had pictures and a four-leaf clover in it. It was really too big for me to carry around and mom wouldn’t let me touch it anyway. I liked the Bibles in the pews, but they were there for the “poor people who didn’t own a Bible” as Mema said. Plus if I were to take one from the pew and claim it as my own I would go to Hell for stealing and I would not need a Bible there. I think that the preacher liked our Bible that we never used because he had one just about like it that he never used sitting on that table that no one ever used in the front of the church.
There were times when I would sneak into the room that no one ever used and look at the pictures in the Bible that no one ever used. It helped when Mema would tell us stories from the Bible to be able to check out the authenticity of what she was saying. After all, pictures never lies and neither did Mema. Once I even snuck into the church while other folks were in class and looked to see if the un-used Bible on that un-used table in that church had any pictures, and it didn’t. When mom caught me she told me I could go to Hell for that. I can only imagine what would have happened if I had done something really stupid like stole it. I probably wouldn’t go to Hell, it would have come to me and burn me up right there in the parking lot of the church.
So, many years later, after I became a Christian, I was in a church where the pastor used this really old Bible to preach out of. He had one of those un-used Bibles on his un-used table and it looked brand new, even though it had been there for years. But this Bible that he was using was rough-looking. What first caught my eye was that when he would pick it up to shake it at the congregation it was very limp. It was like holding up cloth instead of a book. Then as I became more interested in what was in that Bible, any Bible, not just his, I started attending a class that he taught. I would sit next to him as he turned through his Bible and saw the miserable shape it was in. I felt sorry that our preacher was using such a raggedy looking Bible when he a an almost brand new, un-used one out on that un-used table. I almost went out and grabbed it for him but I did not want to go to Hell.
One day I asked him why he didn’t get a new Bible. He told me that he did have others, but this one was special. It was the first Bible that he ever preached from. He said every time he saw the ragged cover it reminded him of Jesus’s body as it was on the cross. He said that the coffee stains and tear stains and other stains remind him of our sins and how when the word of God was applied to them, somehow the stains became battle scars from a victory won. He said the taped pages were a reminder that God puts us back together every time we fall apart. He said the limpness as he held it out reminded him that Jesus’ limp lifeless body was taken off the cross as our sins were left on the cross.
From that day forward I wanted a Bible like that. I couldn’t take his because, you got it, I did not want to go to Hell, so I got my own. It was brand new when I got it. Paid cash, didn’t steal it, cause I didn’t want to go to Hell. Then I started reading it every day. I read it in good times and bad times. I carried it with me to schools, prisons, and other places that often caused it to wear and stain and tater. I cried sometimes as I read about God’s love and even spilled coffee one morning as I banged the table in disgust as it revealed sin after sin in my life.
One day I was preaching and I held my Bible out to make a point and it fell limp in my hand. It may have done this other times before, but at that moment, I realized why my old pastor loved that old Bible so much.
So I got rid of the un-used Bible and that un-used table in my church and refused to have an un-used Bible in my house. Un-used Bibles make beautiful displays that no one reads. Worn out Bibles make beautiful lives that everyone reads.

August 3, 2011

Read It All

by pastortimfowler

Today I am reading the last few chapters of the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. I love this book. Every time I read it I get encouraged. As someone who has been a pastor for over 15 years, I usually hear the opposite from people who read Revelation. It usually brings on confusion and fears and that right there tells me that God is not leading them through it, but rather Satan is. After all God’s word is one of Satan’s most used tools. He used it in the beginning with Adam and Eve and he even tried to use it against Jesus, what makes us think he has stopped trying to use it on us? Here is wisdom; any time you get confusion and fear from God’s word, it is not because God doesn’t want you to understand it. Revelation ends with this blessing:Revelation 22:7 ~ I’m coming soon! Blessed is the one who follows the words of the prophecy in this book.” God would never offer a blessing and then make it confusing and scary.
So why does this happen?
Currently I teach a class to the men of our church and have offered it and will offer it to everyone who wants to attend, called, How to Study the Bible. Most people, even seasoned Christians have little practical knowledge of how to properly interpret scripture. For some reason the church teaches bits and pieces of the Bible and not the whole Bible. Most people want to know where to find their problem solving verse rather than live the life that solves their problems as described in the complete Bible. What I teach is that in order to know what God is really saying to His people, we must read the complete Bible, starting in Genesis and ending with Revelation. But instead we read a few verse here and a few there or we read only the New Testament and skip the Old Testament. What we don’t realize is that the New Testament was written not to void the old but to complete the Old Testament. This makes it impossible to understand much of the New Testament and correctly interpret what God wants us to know and be blessed by.
We do not read any other book like we read the Bible. I hear people get all excited about the latest greatest book by the latest greatest author and never hear them say that they are only going to read a few select lines or chapters or that they will read the last chapter and understand the whole book. We do not build a new shopping mall by skipping to the last page of the blue prints, yet we try to build new lives that way.
It is impossible to understand the book of Revelation without reading the entire Bible, so stop trying. I know that I have read the entire Bible at least 20 times and I still don’t understand it all, but every time I do it again, I get more understanding and closer to knowing that blessing that God promised. I have been through 7, almost 8 years of seminary and still learn something new each time I read it. There is not a quick way to understand an infinite God. The Bible is not everything that God knows, it is, however, everything that He wants us to know. God wrote us a love letter and we call it the Bible.
I challenge you to read your Bible from Genesis 1:1 and not stop until you reach Revelation 22:21. Let me rephrase that. Read it again and again and again from start to finish, then you will begin to understand and look forward to reading and seeing the encouragement and blessings of Revelation.
One final note. It is properly titled The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, for short, Revelation. There is only one. It is not Revelations. Just thought you should know.
So read your Bible and read it all.

February 16, 2011

Bible Reading Poll

by Droplets To Ripples

Take a few minutes to answer the attached poll.  Be honest and don’t give the answer you think we are looking for.  Just curious if the very busy Christians of today have time to read the bible or if reading the bible is something of the past.