I try to be diligent about reading the Bible. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love to read it. It AMAZES me how it is always relevant. Written thousands of years ago, and yet it applies to my life today! And tomorrow! and FOREVER! It is just another way God is awesome.
But sometimes I slack at the reading of it. Lately I have been getting back in the habit of Bible reading/praying on a more regular basis. I've made an effort to black my computer screen and place my cell phone out of reach until I give God and my cup of coffee the first of my day. And it has been SO good.
My NIV Bible is well-worn, extensively underlined, ink explosion spotted, and is about to lose its leather cover. While NIV is my translation of choice, I was finding that as I read it, I was skimming over stuff because I had heard it all before, so many times, and had quite often underlined it as well. Last year when I graduated, some youth leaders gifted me an ESV Journaling Bible (meaning on the side bars of each page there are lines for writing down thoughts). Since then I have been trying to do my devotional reading out of there. Slowly but surely each book is being marked up, and the little lines are becoming full of my notes. It is an ingenious invention. 25 points for the guy who came up with it!
One of my favorite books to read, over and over and over again, is Psalms. The Psalm were originally written as songs, and I, as a vocalist and musician, am always intrigued by a well written song with beautifully crafted lyrics. Sometimes I sit at my keyboard and try to sing the Psalms to some sort of melody. I usually end up wishing David had recorded the melodies to his song and posted them on his myspace...oh wait...
This morning I was reading Psalm 103. The whole thing ( 22 verses) is phenomenal, but here are a couple verses that stood out to me.
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives your iniquity, who heals all you diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."- verses 1-5
"The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love." verse 8
"He does not deal with us according to our sin, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens above the earth, so great is his steadfast love towards those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west so far does he remove our transgressions from us." -verses 10-12
It just amazes me how...unconditional... the love of God is. He is faithful even when I am far from it. He is loving and steadfast when I am so not. He is good when I blatantly choose not to be. He is slow to anger when I am quick to be furious. He is ever forgiving and I am ever screwing things up. And he doesn't deal with me according to the mess that I am; he is GRACIOUS and MERCIFUL! How does he DO that!?!?
What are you reading in the Bible? If you cannot answer that quickly I think it is safe to assume you simply AREN'T and should get off my blog and dust your Bible off. It is powerful stuff.