We are officially now in the season of Lent, which will hopefully be a time for spiritual reflection and growth leading up to the celebration of Easter. It is usually a time we either “give up” something to remind us of our commitment to this reflection and growth…whether it’s a food item like chocolate or chips, or a bad habit like smoking or complaining. But this Lenten season, in addition to giving up something, I’d like to encourage us all to “take on” something too…perhaps a good habit like exercise or meditation…or something service-oriented like giving of our time and talents to the poor or to the church…or here’s a suggestion – reading the Bible. Here’s the main change that I want to make this Lent, 2020: not only planning to read the Bible every day, but learning to LOVE the Bible and truly see, know, feel and believe God’s Word as it applies to me in my everyday life.
It isn’t always easy…I know because I’ve often tried and failed. I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic schools (including college at the University of Notre Dame…and I am still Catholic and love my faith) but I have to admit our family didn’t read the bible, nor did I do any Bible studies until recently in the past several years. Many of you who know me know that my passion, purpose and career calling is writing contemporary suspense novels that re-imagine Bible stories. I have always wanted to be an author since childhood…I just never could have imagined I would become the author of these Modern Day Bible Stories until I realized that is what God was calling me to do. And in so doing this, I learned to love reading the Bible, memorizing certain passages to use as tools to help me through life situations…and I now realize I am hopefully helping others learn to better comprehend some of the Bible stories through my novels and inspirational speaking and to truly love what God is saying.
How did I learn to love the Bible and how can you too this Lent? If you’re rusty, start with the New Testament readings which are much easier to “get” or understand. They are written, of course, in a “newer” age when Jesus walked the earth and then after through the writings of John, James, Peter and Paul. Then get to know the Old Testament. Don’t start with the “law books” like Leviticus or Numbers but with stories like those found in Genesis or Exodus. Take it slowly, find a verse that resonates with you and meditate on it, talk to a friend or your pastor or minister and ask questions, join a Bible study or book study group, find a research book like the Anchor Bible series to delve deeper (which is what I use to research my books) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can chat!
I truly believe God gave us the Bible as His guide to life…that everything He wanted us to learn is in there…that it is not only relevant but necessary for us to live and grow spiritually. Lent is the perfect time to start (or continue) reading it – and loving it!
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 109:105 NIV)
“After fasting forty days and forty nights, He (Jesus) was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matt. 4:4 NIV)
Dear God, help me to delve deeper into Your Word this Lent by not only reading the Bible more, but trying to learn from it and love it, applying it to my everyday life.