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The Ring On my Bible

There’s a circle on the cover of my old bible. I’m not sure how long that ring has been there. That bible has been around a while. I remember when it was given to me. I was 12 years old, living in Midland, Texas and had just finished my summer confirmation studies. In my confirming service, my pastor prayed over me and gave me the bible as I became a member of my church. My name was written on the inside cover page in a fancy cursive script. I think it is called calligraphy. Then, that bible went with me to college, went through a marriage and divorce, raised a son, moved about dozen times and has been in every home I’ve lived in since, sitting right there on the table next to my chair. It’s seen everything. The tough times, the celebrations, the Christmas mornings, the hard financial times. It’s seen me laugh, cry, steam with anger, rock my baby boy to sleep while watching the 2am Sportscenter and was there when I screamed out loud in joy when the Cowboys last won the Superbowl. (27 years ago . . . ugh!) It’s always been there. Placed on that table. Everyone that visited my home would always see it.

Yeah, it has a ring on the cover. Right in the center. I can’t tell you the number of drinks I’ve put on it. From a refreshing sweet tea or lemonade after mowing the yard, a mug of ice-cold beer after work or during the game, a hot cup of morning coffee or a chocolate shake with my son after a day at the park for baseball practice. That ring on my bible has developed over years and years due to one thing . . . I never opened it. It basically served as a coaster. I would dust it off periodically and clean around it on the table when company came over for dinner, but I can probably count the number of times I opened it since I was 12 with the ten fingers on my hand. (That’s over 30 years.)

That’s right, I’m a Christian, and like the majority of Christians, I opened my bible only about 3-4 times per year. Some studies have this number at over 50% of Christians only read their bibles 3-4 times per year outside of a church setting. (That's over 105 million American Christians!) Yup, that was me. I’m a believer, attended church on most weekends and listened to or followed along with scripture read by a pastor. Then listened intently to his opinion of what the scriptures meant. Then, after church, I placed my frothy mug on that bible by my chair and the ring got more and more pronounced. If you have ever heard my testimony, you know where things went for me . . . and it wasn’t pretty. Can you think of any reason why? . . . hmmmm.

Then 13 years ago, I had the revelation of who I am in Christ. In my miseries, I was guided to one simple passage that changed everything for me. “And such were some of you (you WERE a sinner; see previous verses, but don’t let them scare you), but you are washed (forgiven), but you are sanctified (made holy), but you are justified (made righteous), in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” – 1 Corinthians 6:11 – (Parenthesis and definition emphasis added by me). For some reason, The Holy Spirit guided me to those words, and something changed inside of me. After some 35 years of being a Christian, I realized I had never been taught this from a pulpit. I’m forgiven, holy, justified and have the righteousness of Christ! I had never thought deeply about this truth. It stirred something in me that had never been stirred. (Actually, HE stirred something in me.) I dove deeper and I finally began to realize my new identity in Christ. I began to understand the power of the gospel. What Jesus blood did for me and what His resurrection did to me. Yeah, it’s a big deal. HE changes everything! I’m now HIS child and you know what? . . . He wants ME to grow deep in the understanding of who I am and who he says I truly am as His child.

After that day something changed in me. What was the cause of the fact that the words that were once cumbersome to read in the bible now began to jump off the pages and into my heart? Why would my appetite for the word go from famine to feast?

These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. -1 Corinthians 2:10, 12-14

Did you catch that? Do you ever think of Who lives in you? The very Spirit who raised Christ from the dead . . . -Romans 8:11. Yes, He lives in everyone who believes in Christ. That’s right, our God of excellence now lives IN YOU believer! And Paul prayed for the believers of his time to grow in the knowledge of God’s will and His spirit that indwells you. (See Colossians 1:9-14, Ephesians 3:14-19, Philippians 1:9-10, 1 Thessalonians 5) Can you see it? God wants you to know who you are brother. Do you? Before you open your bible, do you pray a prayer like Paul to understand the truth about who you are? That you “may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”?

-Ephesians 3:18-19

Imagine, before opening your bible, praying in the Spirit of who lives in you for this knowledge; this revelation; this comfort, peace and joy through Christ Jesus. Then imagine reading the scriptures of the gospel and the words coming to life in your heart and mind because His Spirit is inspiring you constantly. Imagine the words you’ve missed so many previous times, about who you are as a Christian, appearing to you like never before. Imagine what you will do with this knowledge, peace and freedom that Christ guarantees through Him in His word. Then imagine the people you will touch, because you read His Word in His Spirit, and you have the revelation God wanted you to have. Talk about a number one, best-selling page turner! Like my old bible, it may even have a ring on the cover due to sitting for years on an end table as a coaster. Imagine the story you can tell . . . “You see this ring on my bible? This was before I knew my identity in Christ. Now, let me tell you about how He changed the way I read His word and how His word now affects me.” What an amazing conversation that will be . . .

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