29: the Word

I write in my Bible. A lot. It bugs my husband some... all of the various color of highlighters and ink pens and such. I am pretty sure it bugs my pastor too, especially when I insist on telling him how many times he has preached from the same passage (I do encourage him that he has had fresh revelation every time though!). It does not bug my daughter, who has decided she is a Bible-margin-writer as well. She knows a good thing when she sees it.

If I have come to hear you speak, there is a small notation in my margin with your name on it. And a date.

If you have sent me a scripture that the Lord has spoken to your heart for me. There is a small notation in my margin with your name on it. And of course, the date.

When I read a chapter, I date it.

When the Lord speaks to my heart, I record His words and I date it.

When I have taught from a passage, I write down where and place it.

When He makes a promise to me, I write it in the back, and I date it. 

I can look back through my beloved, working-on-it's second binding, Bible and see the path He has led me down over the years.

Beside Romans 7:15 is the note "A turning point!"... and I so clearly recall taking my first feeble steps out of addiction. My heart encouraged by the fact that the Apostle Paul understood... 2000 years ago, he really understood. And that God knew my heart, and saw my struggle... and promised me in Romans 8:1 that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Even if I was still trying to work it all out.

1 Samuel 1:12-16 carry a date as well. And a note about a time I was feeling very misunderstood by a spiritual leader in my own life. I identified with this woman whose priest did not recognize her own pain or earnest seeking of the Lord. 

Galatians 5 bear the notes of one learning what it was like to live a life of freedom, a life in the Spirit.

Malachi 1:10 the revelation that God desires so much more than our feeble sacrifices... He wants our best, He wants our all, and anything less does not satisfy our jealous God!

The challenging word He has spoken to me in Ezekiel. The love story He tells in the Song of Solomon. The cries of a ravished heart sang in the Psalms. The doubts of the saints. His Word, spoken to my heart to encourage, challenge, refine, grow, convict, love...

Hebrews 4:12 says For the word of God is living and active... 

And it is. It is a living, breathing thing, meeting us exactly where we are. Have you ever had that experience? Crying out to Him, then opening the Word to have Him answer your question... directly?

Feeling insecure before preaching at my church the first time, I told Him that I was in over my head. He was clearly confused when He called me to this. He took me to Isaiah 50:4 and I read "The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught"... What are the chances? Isn't He good? Isn't He generous? Time and again I have had these experiences in the scriptures!

His Word is life-giver and life-sustainer. It is our milk and our meat. It is our daily bread. We need it to survive.

So why in the world, when we are feeling weakest, is it the first thing we neglect?

This is not me pointing a finger at you, dear friend... this one is for me. 

In the margin of my Bible I have noticed a pattern develop over the last few years. A season of isolation, of feeling less-than, being on the outside looking in... and it seems to happen about this time of year. Call it seasonal-affective disorder, the holiday blues, or good old-fashioned spiritual warfare... the result is the same. And although I know the Word is what I need, even more than I need water or food, I have again found myself neglecting those pages I hold so precious. 

And today, as I shared my heart with a dear friend, she asked one simple question. It was a question my heart wanted to hear. "Are you still in the Word lately?" 

I needed that so badly! I had already began righting my ship, opening the Word and reading even when I didn't feel any specific direction while doing so... but there is something about knowing that she's going to ask me tomorrow how much I read tonight. There is also something about being purposeful in my study... I feel better already.

I know this time of year is hard for many of you. Perhaps you find yourself wrestling with depression, grief, abandonment, loss, isolation... my question for you... Are you still in the Word lately? If not, go there. I promise you, He will meet you there...

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