I have found that when I am going through a really tough time and the light at the end of the tunnel is not yet in view there is a sense of doom that tries to overcome my heart. I have also found that when this happens there is one thing I can do that helps more than anything else and that is to speak the Word! I don’t just mean read from the pages of the Bible, although that really does help. I don’t just mean pray to the Lord of Heaven and tell Him all your troubles, although that also helps. What I mean is to open the Bible, find a comforting passage and read it out loud until that feeling of doom is gone! I love to listen to the Bible read to me and often use BibleGateway.com to find many versions, languages, and readers to listen to the scriptures being read. But when this doesn’t seem to chase away that doom feeling I pick up my favorite version of the Bible, usually my New American Standard Bible that I have had since 1974 and read out loud some encouraging verses. Why is speaking the Word so effective?
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Hebrews 4:12-13, (New American Standard Bible or NASB).
Do you see that nothing in all of creation is hidden from God, now that is something to really think about. Not even our hearts are hidden from God and the word of God can pierce and do some major surgery on them! I love that the word of God is living and active inside of me and I believe that is one of the reason I need to actually speak and read out loud the Bible. There is another passage that helps us to understand how this living and active word of God works when we speak it.
Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:10-17, (NASB).
Tough times come to every generation and persecution of Christians is on the increase worldwide. Not always do we hear about it but there are organizations that monitor such persecution and keep tabs on what is going on. We are not told that we will be spared from such persecution or from tough times but we are told that we won’t walk alone through the storms of life if we belong to Jesus. Every word from the Bible written by many people often in the form of letters or journals or even songs, every scripture whether in the Old Testament or the New Testament are profitable. Every word is helpful to us as Christians and when we speak them out loud we are also hearing them and our hearts are open to receiving them. This is very helpful to us in our daily lives because the Bible of filled with examples of everyday people who lived their lives either faithful or disobedient to God and we learn from their examples. I find in my own life that reading the words out loud gives me strength and encouragement to keep the faith and keep doing good for others. Here is another great passage to ponder.
Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME.” For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. Romans 15:1-7, (NASB).
You see the words we speak and powerful, why not use them for encouragement to others rather than tearing others down. When I read out loud what the Bible says I am also encouraging myself. And if I am encouraged then it is much easier to encourage someone else. Once again this passage reminds us that the Bible has a purpose to be instructive as well as encouraging. Shall we keep going?
Remember the word to Your servant, In which You have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me. The arrogant utterly deride me, Yet I do not turn aside from Your law. I have remembered Your ordinances from of old, O LORD, And comfort myself. Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked, Who forsake Your law. Your statutes are my songs In the house of my pilgrimage. O LORD, I remember Your name in the night, And keep Your law. This has become mine, That I observe Your precepts. Psalm 119: 49-56, (NASB).
There is comfort in reading the Bible out loud. There is a calmness that overcomes me when I read it out loud. I can’t explain it but I sure feel it. I think the author of this portion of Psalm 119 also felt it. When we read the scriptures we are reminded of what is important in life and that is our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Our priorities get straightened out you might say. There is one more to share.
Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. I have sworn and I will confirm it, That I will keep Your righteous ordinances. I am exceedingly afflicted; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word. O accept the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, And teach me Your ordinances. My life is continually in my hand, Yet I do not forget Your law. The wicked have laid a snare for me, Yet I have not gone astray from Your precepts. I have inherited Your testimonies forever, For they are the joy of my heart. I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes Forever, even to the end. Psalm 119: 105-112, (NASB).
Reading the Bible which is God’s word is not only a guide for us to know now to navigate the troubles in life but it also brings about revival in us. In other words we are revived, brought back alive in our faith. I find that to be the outcome of reading out loud God’s word, my revival, it is like CPR for my faith! We all need that sometimes.
Until next time…Katherine