Celebrating the Bible

Monday was International Day of the Bible.  It’s a day that we take to recognize the book that contains so many different things and means so much to those who believe in it.  It contains hope, encouragement, wisdom, healing, and history as well as warnings, consequences and failures.  And as some people would say it contains everything you need for a good story: action, adventure, heroes, love stories, mystery and bad guys.  There are even some happy endings.

What’s incredible about this book is that it has spoken to generation after generation in a way that not many books or stories do. It crosses tons of lines that have been erected over time from age to location to language, people around the world are reading it.  And while some of the stories and rules sound a little strange to us today, there are still plenty of things we can learn from it as we read it, and even from some of those strange stories.

Habakkuk 2:14 says “For the time will come when all the earth will be filled, as the waters fill the sea, with an awareness of the glory of the Lord.” International Day of the Bible is about raising awareness for the Bible as well as supporting the organizations who are helping bring the Bible to different parts of the world whether literally by passing out copies, by helping to smuggle in copies, or translating it into languages that it isn’t in yet (yes, there are still people who can’t read the Bible because it’s not in their language, and I’ll include a few links at the bottom if you want to support some of them).  But above all it’s a reminder to everyone who has access to a Bible to read it.  There are too many people around the world who struggle to read their Bible because they will be killed if they’re caught reading it and wish that they could have the freedom that many other people around the world do have.

I know it may seem like you’ve read it all before or heard it all before, and maybe you have.  But you weren’t the same person then that you are now.  So I encourage you this week to make extra time to dive in and check out what lies within the pages.  If nothing else check out some of the Christmas related passages and start thinking about Advent and Christmas which are rolling up very quickly.  Or maybe the best place to start is with one of your favorite passages that has always captured your attention.  What about the Bible do you celebrate or are most thankful for?

International Day of the Bible
Wycliffe Bible Translators
Pioneer Bible Translators
Bible League International

Stories of Suffering

This past week you may have been thinking about what I’ve been thinking about because it’s kind of hard to miss with all the news coverage: the Syrian refugee situation. For years we’ve heard about the conflict, actually it’s a conflict that has been going on for a very long time, so this isn’t anything new.  But finally things have gotten to a point that people are leaving.  They know it’s not safe and as hard as it is to leave the place you’ve known your whole life, when there’s no sign of things changing or improving any time soon, at some point in time you have to make the choice to stay or go.

So it got me thinking about the rest of us and our situations in life.  Your suffering and mine may not come anywhere close to that of the refugees, but that doesn’t make it any less real.  We can experience many of the things they do such as betrayal, displacement, loneliness, fear, hurt, and loss, but for us it may be related to our job, a relationship, a family member, a friend, our home, our health or even things that we can’t quite put a finger on like depression and other mental/emotional challenges/imbalances.  As I was thinking about this I read a verese that spoke to me about the tough choices the people of Syria face and our own challenges.

Habakkuk 1:5 says “…For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.”  

Don’t give up hope that God can work even when things look dire.  You don’t know everything so you can’t know all of the motivations and intentions of all of the people involved let alone all that God has going on behind the scenes.  Believe that there is hope and an amazing future in the works.

The challenge is in the rebuilding though: when the dust settles the question is will you allow what happened to hold you back and define you forever or will you choose to move forward?  Don’t let your past hold you back, instead apply what you’ve learned from your struggles, rebirth and recovery to the rest of your life, and when given the chance to support someone else who is going through something similar, don’t forget that you had help along the way too, or be the helping hand you wish you had had.

Verses of Hope

Today I’m sharing some Biblical encouragement. Share your favorite verses below!

Philippians 4:13 “For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.”

Zephaniah 3:17 “For the Lord your God is living among you.  He is a mighty savior.  He will take delight in you with gladness.  With his love, he will calm all your fears.  He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.  They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water.  Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought.  Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”

Lamentations 3:26 “So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.”

Habakkuk 2:3 “This vision is for a future time.  It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.  If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place.  It will not be delayed.”

Psalm 62:1-2 “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.”

1 Corinthians 15:58 “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”

John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Share your hopeful verses below!