The Word | Mark’s Remarks

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 40 years this summer.  Since then, it’s been an interesting journey of spiritual understanding, searching, and constant “restarts.”

I’m still learning. I’m still “restarting,” sometimes on a daily basis.

Something I am rather ashamed of is my biblical knowledge. I mean, I know what I believe and I know why I believe it. I believe the Bible to be true from cover to cover. God’s word. Infallible. Inspired by Him.  You may disagree, and that’s your prerogative. I believe it all.

But I would never say I knew enough Bible knowledge to even be dangerous.

I’ve been reading the Bible since I was little, but I think I’ve absorbed it in small, minute chunks. 

As a teenager, I taught Sunday School and probably learned more about the Bible than I ever had before. But again, I only took absorbed it in small chunks, stories and incidents.

In the past several months, I’ve been doing a Bible study with a group of fellas. You may have seen us around some local coffee shops, talking and laughing too loudly (me mostly), bent over Bibles and notes with our reading glasses on, and bowing our heads in prayer. Yes, in a public place. Not showing off or anything, but not ashamed of praying in public. 

People tend to scoot away from us or ignore us, but I assure you we have good intentions.

We began reading the Book of Luke and have now worked our way into Acts. After I finished studying Luke, I was elated. It was one of the first times in a long time I had stuck to a consistent Bible study, taken notes, dug into the words and really, authentically studied it.  Plus, I read it in full context. The whole book.  

When I finished Luke, I ended up telling anyone who would listen that I had done it. And this time, I was showing off a little.

We went on to Acts, and I can tell you I’ve read some things I’d forgotten about. However, there were things I’ve read that I didn’t know at all. I’ve read about Phillip being “taken away,” disappearing and reappearing in another place. I’ve read about what a great friend and solid guy Barnabas was (not the vampire from “Dark Shadows”).  I’ve read about the amazing conversion of Saul and the incredible and intense encounter he had on the road that blinded him for a time. 

Awesome stories, read in their entirety and in context with the rest of the book.

The more I read, the more blessed I feel. There are times I read and have to reread because I lose my train of thought. However, there are also times that I read and the words sink in and inspire me. I understand, I soak it in and I even find things that apply to my own life. Amazing.

I have talked to many people who struggle with their belief. I’ve talked to people who avoid church, praying, or any sort of religious anything, because they have been hurt by people or even, they think, by God himself. Listen, we all struggle with this, regardless of where we are in our spiritual life. In the midst of her ministry, the great Mother Teresa wrote that she experienced a great “crisis of faith.” She reported it went on for many years.

Fifty, to be exact. Still, she kept searching and quietly doing her work.

There are people who search for meaning every day. They feel there is some void or something wrong.  It doesn’t occur to many to read God’s word. I’m not trying to sound uppity here; it’s true of all of us. In low times, we don’t often think that we could find answers in the Bible.

People say the Bible is a book or stories, or that it has been interpreted wrong.  People are afraid, because the Bible speaks of a Lord and not just a Savior. They like the Savior part, but not the Lord part.

But I urge you to at least look into it. Give Bible reading a shot, regardless of where you are spiritually, and make a sincere effort to read, understand and see what it’s all about. 

 I once knew a guy who professed to be an atheist, and he is now the pastor of a church, simply because he cared for a friend enough, took the friend’s advice, and sincerely gave the Bible a try.  

Try it. Give yourself the gift of The Word this Christmas.

It’s a good investment of your time, I guarantee.

I wish you all a fantastic, blessed Christmas and hope the holiday season is filled with love and peace.

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