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The Bible changed my life for the better

By AL EARLEY

Reiligion Columnist

What is a spiritual discipline? A spiritual discipline is anything we do regularly that draws us closer to God. If we do it regularly, but it doesn’t draw us closer to God, then it isn’t a spiritual discipline.  Dieting may fall into that category.  Bible study, when done regularly is a very powerful spiritual discipline. The Bible can also change your life in a moment. 

Pastor Oscar Modesto grew up in the Philippines. When he was a child, his dream was to become a priest. His mother raised him up and brought him regularly to church. But despite this, Oscar joined a gang and was involved in drugs and alcohol by the age of 14.  He almost died and decided to clean up his life.  He got married and eventually had three kids. Then he worked in a furniture shop, but was still taking drugs.

He and his wife fell into a loveless marriage.  He decided to join his boss’ Bible study at work.  During the study he made noise, asked stupid questions and insulted his boss. He even cursed him from head to foot.

One day he decided to go to the Bible study and kill his boss. While on his way, he saw a red New Testament. At first, he was hesitant to pick it up but bending down and pretending to tie his shoelace, he got it and brought it home and started reading.

The Spirit of the Lord convicted him. Oscar accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal lord and savior and he delivered him from his vices and drug addiction.  Today, Oscar is a pastor of numerous churches in the Philippines (condensed from a story at https://bit.ly/2Eok7DG).

One might think that my advice would be, “Just pick up your Bibles and you will never put them down, for once you start reading you will thirst for knowledge.” As remarkable as these stories are, with their drama and human transformation, we must never forget that such stories don’t take place in a vacuum. 

God prepares us to be open to the power of the word, sometimes coming to a climax in a single dramatic event and sometimes there is a gradual transformation. We must not be sucked into the desire for instant gratification, but at the same time we can believe that regular Bible reading will absolutely change our lives.

Paul writes to the young minister, Timothy, these words about scripture, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16-17).

The first thing to do is get a Bible whose translation is understandable to you.  If this is difficult, call and ask a minister or a friend who is familiar with the Bible for guidance about the strengths of each translation. A Christian bookstore can also be helpful in selecting the right version for you to read. Then begin reading. One plan that has worked well for me is to read three chapters each morning. 

It will take just over 15 months to read through the Bible at three chapters a day.  If you have tried this before and you have gotten bogged down in some of the difficult sections of the first book of the Bible, like Genesis, then I recommend skipping the Old Testament for now, and starting with the more familiar stories of the New Testament, beginning with Matthew.  Make a commitment to read some of the Bible every day.  Then you will find out the power of its words

What are the barriers you face to reading some of the Bible every day?  Can you think of creative ways to overcome those barriers?  Would purchasing an audio version of the Bible or downloading a Bible app on your phone be a good tool for those long drives to work? 

How soon before you can start your new routine of reading the Bible every day?  What is your plan?  Is today a good day to start?  I hope it will be a perfect day.  Before reading the Bible each day pray a prayer like this, “Come, Holy Spirit, come.  Convict, convert, consecrate me, until I am completely yours, that I may understand your word, for me, today.  Amen.” 

To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles go to lagrangepres.com.