Welcome and thanks for participating in day 14 of the ARISE fast and devotional blog. If you haven’t read the previous days, please go back and read them before reading todays, as these thoughts will build off of one another. 

 “What comes to your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you” – AW Tozer

 I’m sure you’ve seen ambiguous images? They’re the optical illusion images that change between 2 different distinct images depending on how you look at them.

 Is it a duck or a goose? I see a cowboy, I see an old man. It’s obviously 2 faces… wait it’s a man with a guitar and a woman with plates on her head!      

It’s funny how things can appear completely different the longer you look at them. 

 Consider your parents’ rules when you were a teenager. They made no sense then, but now you may appreciate them. Life is often this way… the more you grow, the more you understand, the more things make sense. But of course, something will never make sense… like why round pizza comes in a square box. Or why is “fun size” candy smaller, isn’t more candy more fun? Or why is it called a “double u” (W) when it’s obviously v’s?  I digress…

 How do you see the Bible? It’s possible to see it different ways during different seasons of life. Depending on your cultural upbringing, religious background and the pain you’ve experienced in the church, you may see the Bible completely different than the person next to you

 If you have become institutionalized, then you may be conditioned to view the Bible as a paddle that disciplines you by beating you into submission, or as a measuring tape that shows how Godly you are by what you have memorized, or as a text book you must cram to make sure you pass the final exam.

 Or… maybe you see the Bible as handcuffs that keep you from freedom. As I mentioned in the previous devotion, when cultural values begin disintegrating, rules are formed that take away freedom and attempt to force the cultural values. Institutions always end up doing this.

 It’s hard to believe that a book born of God that tells his story of redemption and is made to be alive through the Holy Spirit, could be viewed as anything other than amazing… but then again it’s hard to believe that a movement born of visionaries and dreamers would become dominantly known for its traditions and rituals. 

 While institutionalized believers see the Bible as negative light… although they would never admit it. Believers in the early church movement saw the Bible as life. They hung on every word in the letters from Paul. They studied every parable of Jesus until it became pressed into their soul and part of their lifestyle. They didn’t just see letters on a page, they say the words of life and hope.

 The Bible was not their prison sentence, it was their permission slip. Every “thou shalt not” was given so a “that you may” could follow. Every “no” God gives in Scripture is only because He has a better “yes” in store. The mysteries of the Bible were treasures ready to be discovered. 

 The Bible reveals the way to eternal life! Institutionalized religion and their view of Scripture may handcuff you, but the people of the movement rightly see the Bible as liberating and life giving.

 If you see the Word of God, particularly the New Testament, as anything other than God’s love letter to you, then it’s time to JOIN THE MOVEMENT by falling in love with God’s Word all over again.

 Esse Quam Videri, 

 Pastor Brent

 Meditate and reflect on the verse and questions: 

 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

1. How do you see the Bible? How has your view of Scripture evolved over the years?

2. Does the amount of time you spend in The Word match what you profess to believe?

3. How can you become more disciplined in making Bible study a priority? If you haven’t been reading lately, start in the Book of John and begin reading today.

 Pray:  

 – Pray that your heart would become passionate about Scripture. 

 – Pray that God would speak to you through His word each day. –

 = Pray that your life would be characterized by the abundant life Jesus offers.