“If You Have Your Bibles with You”
“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” Proverbs 20:5
I received a notice from the IRS one year that my taxes had been reviewed and I had made a mistake. The result was an increase of taxes owed (not the refund anticipated) plus a penalty fee and interest charges. I was a little concerned. They gave me a phone number and extension to call, and I made the call.
The IRS agent on the other end of the line was courteous and friendly. She asked what I thought the problem might be. I responded that I didn’t have any idea. As she called up my records, she commented that most problems were simple mistakes – usually, math errors. I replied, “I don’t do math all that well; I decline Greek and Hebrew verbs.” She laughed at that. Once she got to my records, she immediately spotted the problem: “You made a small mathematical error; the real problem is that you put the numbers on the wrong line.” “Can you tell me what I need to do to make things right?” Again, she chuckled. “Well today’s a first for me – a man is asking for directions!” We got everything changed and by the end of the phone call, I wound up with a bigger refund than I had originally planned for.
At this time of year, as people are preparing their taxes, many of us will seek the advice and counsel of a tax professional. Why? Because they know what they’re doing, and if they make a mistake, you’re covered.
A lot of what concerns us and keeps us up at night are things often beyond our understanding and control. We are bombarded by more information in a minute than previous generations dealt with in a week! A far superior intellect with a greater perspective on the whole picture is needed. God is such an intellect and from his heavenly perspective he sees and knows everything. Wouldn’t it be great if we could “tap” into his database and see a positive outcome that releases us from our anxiety?
You are going to often hear me say, “If you have your Bibles with you…” God speaks to us and reveals himself and his plans for us in the words of the Bible – his holy Word. That’s an important aspect of our faith: The Bible is God’s inspired (he sent the Holy Spirit to guide the writers) and inerrant (there are no errors from God’s perspective in the Bible) Word of God. There are plenty of human “gurus” who have a myriad of ideas and suggestions and paths for you; the Bible is God talking to you…revealing his grace and his mercy and his hope to you. When it comes to laying out a course of action as individuals and as a church, the psalmist says of God’s Word: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” Psalm 119:105. There is no better place to get God’s perspective on faith and life than to go to his Word.
Hence, I challenge everyone to start carrying a Bible around with them. Whether you’re in worship, Bible study, or ministry team meeting, you will hear me say, “If you have your Bibles with you…” To that end, we will cease putting each Sunday’s Bible readings on the screen as I will ask you to turn to your Bible and read along with me. Whether you carry a hard-bound Bible, or you have a Bible-app on your phone, I want to encourage everyone to make more regular use of their Bibles. God talks to us in his Word; we need to listen to what he says.
Beginning Sunday, March 3 (Transfiguration Sunday), we will include the following proclamation before reading the assigned Scriptures for each day. It goes like this: “This is my Bible. | It is God’s Word to me. | I will read it. | I will study it. | I will believe it. | For it is God talking to me.” Then we will turn in our Bibles and hear what God has to say.