|Photo by Isaac McCord 2016|
As my husband looked inside a dilapidated trailer that needed to be cleared from a lot, there were signs of neglect, decay, mold and rust everywhere. A mouse scurried away through a hole in the back wall, and a menacing spider seemed to leer at him, poised to strike from the center of its vast cobweb.
Nothing salvageable here, or was there? On the crumbling remains of a countertop he spotted a small black Bible, oddly pristine in this sea of filth, intact, still bearing its original inscription, containing all its pages and even its red ribbon bookmark.
An even more poignant incident made national news on November 16, 2016, when a Dollywood employee cleaning up the rubble after wildfires had ravaged the park found a charred, yet soggy, piece of paper lying in a puddle. Out of curiosity, he looked closer and was shocked to realize it was a Bible page!
The edges were burned so that most of the text could no longer be read, but on the right sight of the page there was a legible verse, one that spoke directly to the hearts of all who were afflicted by the tragic blazes that had destroyed many lives, homes and businesses in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and surrounding areas:
Joel 1:19 O Lord, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. 20 The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.
Isaac McCord, the employee who found the burnt page from the King James Bible, was profoundly moved, as were his fellow workers (who corroborated his story), and many others who found renewed faith and hope in this example of how God continues to speak to us through His Word ((Psalm 119:15-19).
God’s Word is alive ((Psalm 119:97-107) and eternal (Psalm 119:89,152,160), foiling all attempts by Satan to destroy it. Every time we read it, God can move our hearts in a new way by giving us fresh wisdom to follow Him more closely (Psalm 119:129-133). He has promised that His Word will never return to Him empty, for He uses Scripture to accomplish His perfect will (Isaiah 55:11).
His Word wins others to Himself and encourages those who have been born again (John 3:3-8) by trusting in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only way to Heaven (John 14:6). All Scripture is inspired by God, for it is God’s very Word, and it teaches, uplifts and corrects us (2 Timothy 3:16).
Believers in Christ are privileged to be His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) and fellow workers with Him (1 Corinthians 3:9), spreading the Good News of salvation (Acts 20:24) through our personal testimony and lifestyle (Matthew 28:19-20). We can share God’s Word (Acts 8:4) by speaking or reading Bible passages to others (1 Corinthians 1:17; 2 Timothy 4:2), passing out Gospel tracts, and even distributing Bibles as God enables us (Psalm 126:6).
While at the movie theatre on Valentine’s Day, my husband and I were blessed to encounter an old, jauntily dressed man, walking with a cane and carrying Bibles from the Dollar Store in his other arm. “Would you like a free Bible?” he offered to those standing in line, after greeting them courteously. We chatted with him briefly and encouraged one another to keep on keeping on for the Lord (2 Thessalonians 3; Galatians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:58).
Many ministries and missionaries distribute Bibles more formally and on a larger scale, as does Gideons International, which places Bibles in hotel rooms and hands them out to students and on street corners throughout the world.
For one local Gideons’ convention, the chapter had reserved and paid for a block of rooms in a suitable hotel. They asked if they could place Bibles throughout the hotel, but were then informed by management that it was “against policy.” A few days later, they received a call from the same manager, humbly asking if it were too late to place Bibles after all.
Of course the Gideons were delighted to oblige, and the camp leader felt led to inquire what had motivated the sudden policy change. Hesitantly, the manager explained that on the night after he had denied the Bible distribution to hotel rooms, a young man had checked in and shortly after attempted suicide by jumping from his fifth story window.
Thankfully, he landed in the branches of a tree, and was unharmed except for some scrapes and bruises. When interviewed later, he explained that he was going through rough times and had checked in hoping to sort things out and find some peace. Instinctively he reached for the Gideons Bible he was accustomed to finding in hotel nightstands, but there was no Bible there! Distraught, he took it as a sign that he was meant to end his life.
All is transient in this universe except for man’s soul, which will either spend eternity in Heaven (John 3:16) or in hell (Matthew 18:8; 25:41); God’s Word, which shall endure forever (Matthew 5:17-18; 24:35); and God Himself (Isaiah 9:6;63:16). God is an everlasting three-part Being: God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:6).
Jesus Christ is Himself the Word of God (Revelation 19:13), the Self-Existent One (Exodus 3:14) Who is without beginning and without end (Revelation 1:8). He spoke the worlds into existence with the Word of His mouth (Genesis 1:3-26; John 1:1-3) and He will use that same Word, sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), to defeat all His enemies at the War of Armageddon (Revelation 1:16; 19:11-21).
May we always follow His Word as a light to our path (Psalm 119:105), hide it in our heart to not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11), and share it with others to bring them closer to Him!
what a beautiful post of encouragement to all who read that the Word of God has a power to reach everyone in every circumstance, whether in the deepest filth or destroying fire. I also loved the story of the Hotel manager changing his mind about the Bibles being placed in his hotel. There are beautiful testimonies everywhere about God speaking powerfully to each and every kind, and the more we trust - the more powerful His voice becomes to us as our faith grows.
God bless you Laurie.
The Bible is indeed a love letter from God to us, revealing himself on who he is, and letting us know what his will is. For many years there has always been large numbers of people living in the Third World who would go to extremes and do anything just to get hold of a Bible. In turn there are well off academics living in lands where the Bible is within easy access, yet these academics prefer to spurn God's Word and to push away the truth.
I thank the Lord that His Word is readily available here in the UK. It would be nigh impossible to find one in any Muslim country, and even hard done by in lands where Roman Catholicism holds full sway.
An excellent blog. God bless.
Thank you for your uplifting comment. Praise God that He wants all to be saved, and that He gives us the amazing opportunity to be part of His salvation plan. May He grow our faith daily.
God bless you too!
Praise God for His love letter and instruction to us through His Bible! It is so true that His Word is precious to those in countries such as India and Africa, where Bibles are difficult to obtain. Several missionaries our church supports have brought back pictures from such countries where they are surrounded by those eagerly seeking a copy of God's Word. Yet the toughest mission fields are those where Bibles are plentiful, such as the US and EU, for hearts are hardened.
Thanks as always for your encouraging and insightful comment.
Hallo, thank you for writing this! Never read before about the burnt Bible page. I will tell it to my children.
You're very welcome, Ariella! Thanks so much for your visit and comment.
May God bless you and your ministry,
Thanks. Have a nice day!
It is troubling that as was mentioned in one of the comments, some of those who have the Bible most available are the least interested in hearing it. I am especially bothered by the number of churches that are more concerned with the writings of a particular teacher or group, or with their various programs than with the Word of God.
Thanks, you too!
So true, Donald. The best commentary on the Word of God is the Word of God. Reading other people's opinions and interpretations is useful only if you can discern and judge them based on how well they align with God's Word.
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