Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Bible: A Love Story

I taught this lesson in Mom Time a few weeks ago, but it is not mom-specific. Add richness and depth to your Christmas by understanding that the Bible is truly God's love story to you, and Jesus is the promise of that love.

The Bible: A Love Story

I don't know what the Bible represented to you growing up. In my house, it was a huge book for pressing flowers and keeping yellowed scraps of obituaries. We didn't actually read it. As a matter of fact, I didn't know we were supposed to. I thought only nuns and priests read the Bible. About six years ago I read a book that referred to the Bible as a love story, and that took me by surprise.

History book, yes.

Basic instructions before leaving Earth (BIBLE), yes.

Love story, not so much.

Understanding that was the catalyst for the transformation God performed in my life.

There are five key truths that, when you really "get" them, will open the door to a richer relationship with Jesus. It is my desire to add a new level of awareness to your Christmas season through this knowledge.

He knows your name: Have you ever been called by the wrong name? Felt anonymous in the world? Wonder if your existence makes a difference at all? I wandered through my own life feeling like that for close to 25 years, not sure of my place in life. Isaiah 43:1 says "I have called you by name. You are mine." Mine. I belong to God. He calls me His. The God of the Universe knows who I am and He knows who you are too. Let that sink in for a minute.

He will never leave you or forsake you.(Hebrews 13:5) In this world of inconsistency, divorce, and job loss, we learn to view relationships as temporary. "Until irritation do we part...." God does not operate that way. His promise to us is to never leave us or forsake us. He will never turn His back on us when we disappoint Him. He will never choose a better opportunity over us. Never is a very long time, unfathomably actually. We can't understand that with our conditional, human thinking minds, but God is not limited by our standards. He will never, ever leave you. He promises.

He came for you. With the life of Jesus, who is God in the flesh, over 365 prophecies from the Old Testament were fulfilled. One of my favorites is the connection between Isaiah 61: 1-3 and Luke 4:16-21. (Click to read the verses.) He came to set us free from all the weighs us down and steals our joy and contentment, to make a way for us to have a right relationship with God. You can read more of my personal journey if you want here. 

He cares for you. "Cast your cares upon Him because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)" Do you realize that God is intimately involved in every detail of your life, that He is not some distant entity asleep at the wheel, and wants you to come to Him with your concerns, fears, and celebrations? When you have had a long day of worrying about everyone else's needs, don't forget that God is actively concerned with yours. Share it all with Him; He can take it.

He has a plan for you. You were not created without reason or by accident, no matter what circumstances you come from. I was born to young parents, and often felt like an "accident." What I know realize is that God planned for me, and that every day I wake up breathing is a day He still has planned for me. Amazingly, He has a plan for each one of us to fulfill. I think that is the coolest ever. Check out these verses for confirmation: Jeremiah 29:11-13 and Ephesians 2:10.

My prayer for each of you is to know how much you matter to God, and to view Christmas as the birth of the promise and evidence of God's love. Celebrate the wonder and majesty of this season with the eyes of your heart opened to the truth that the Bible is the Living Word of God, and that Jesus is that Word made flesh. May you contain to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. Amen.

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